Friday, February 23, 2007

Two Years of joint Israeli-Palestinian protests in Bil'in

Friday, 23rd February saw the second anniversary of the non-violent demonstrations held by Israelis, Palestinians and Internationals at the village of Bil'in, whose farmers are being subjected to forced confiscations of their land to enable Israel to erect a barrierwhich it says will prevent suicide bomber infiltrations.

Over 1,000 people, including many Israelis and foreign nationals, gathered, in solidarity with Palestinians of Bil'in Village, whose lands have been confiscated and exploited for the purpose of illegal settlement.

In the early 1980s, the Matityahu settlement was built part of Bil’in villagers' land and, at in the early 1990s, more land was confiscated to build the Kiryat Sefer settlement. In 2002, another new settlement, named Matityahu Eastm, was built on Bil’in’s land. (read more about this)

At least 16 people were reported hurt during what has become a weekly protest in the West Bank village of Bil'in. Four Palestinians were taken to hospital to receive medical treatment for rubber-tipped bullet and tear gas wounds and Israeli artist David Riv sustained a light chest wound after he was hit in the stomach by a tear gas canister.

At last Friday 16th February's demonstration, 11 people were injured, after the army attacked the demonstration with a volley of teargas, concussion grenades and rubber coated steel bullets.

"Israeli anarchist, Kobi Snitz, was repeatedly hit in the head with metal concussion grenades, used as brass knuckles. The scene took place as Snitz tried, together with others, to prevent a provocative arrest of a Palestinian demonstrator. He was later evacuated to Tel Hashomer hospital and had three of his wounds stitched…."
Last week, Dennnis Fox reported:
"Based in part on my own participation in a November Bil’in protest, I know the Israeli mainstream media routinely and seriously present a one-sided take on these protests, misrepresenting the sequence of events to make it appear hundreds of protestors attack Israeli soldiers. That’s a lie.

So I know there’s always more to the story than Ha’Aretz says. Even the background information is falsified:
"The protestors claim the fence in the area is being built on land that belongs to Bil’in, and will cut off the village’s residents from their lands."
As anyone who has been to Bil’in knows, or anyone who has followed the court battles or the ruling of the World Court, the fence is indeed being built on land belonging to Bil’in and it does indeed separate village residents from their fields. The only policy question is whether Israel should build the wall on Bil’in land despite these consequences. Israel says yes. The villagers losing their land say no.

Today’s story bothers me more personally than usual because I’ve met Kobi, the injured Tel Aviv anarchist, several times. I was impressed by his commitment as well as by his level-headedness. I hope he’s okay.

Next Friday marks the two-year anniversary of these weekly Bil’in protests. It should draw a larger crowd than usual. I suspect Kobi will be among them."

Read full Anarchists Against The Wall report

Covereage elsewhere: a preliminary report by The Guardian or for coverage of the demonstration by The Guardian , Haaretz Daily and Ynet

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