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Home arrow Blog arrow December 2010 arrow December 31, 2010: New Years Eve 2010 in Bil'in: "The Last Day of The Wall"

December 31, 2010: New Years Eve 2010 in Bil'in: "The Last Day of The Wall"
December 31, 2010: New Years Eve 2010 in Bil'in: "The Last Day of The Wall" Jan. 2, 2011 UPDATE LEADS
 
Published first @ +972 magazine

Demonstrators ‘return’ tear gas canisters to US ambassador’s home


Israeli activists protesting the killing of Bil’in’s Jawaher Abu Rahmah ‘returned’ spent tear gas canisters to the residence of the American ambassador to Israel late Saturday evening. Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital on Friday after inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas during the weekly protest in Bil’in, and died of poisoning Saturday morning. The tear gas used by the Israeli forces in Bil’in is manufactured by Combined Systems Inc.; a United States company based in Jamestown, Pennsylvania. This is the first protest where empty tear gas canisters have been returned to an ambassador’s home.

Approximately 25 five Israeli protesters gathered in front of the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Israel, James B. Cunningham, around 1am local time. The protesters ‘returned’ loads of spent tear gas canisters collected in the West Bank village of Bil’in. The demonstrators also made noise throughout the ambassador’s neighborhood, informing residents of how American military aid to Israel is being used to kill unarmed and nonviolent demonstrators in the West Bank. They chanted, “one, two, three, four stop the occupation stop the war. Five, six, seven, eight end the funding (US) end the hate.” This action is one of the first by Israeli activists demanding accountability of a foreign government. Instead of targeting the Israeli public, activists did a symbolic act aimed at the United States. This could signal the future of targeted BDS-style actions (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) actions by Israelis who witness the destruction of US military aid in the West Bank.



Five demonstrators were arrested in the action and are currently being held in detention. It is unclear when they will be released and on what charges. The action in front of the ambassador’s residence completed a day of protest throughout Israel and the West Bank stemming from Abu Rahmah’s death. On Saturday evening, hundreds demonstrated opposite the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. Protesters manged to block Kaplan street, a main artery, for over one hour. Eight people were arrested, including a former Knesset member from the left wing Meretz Party, Mossi Raz.


UPDATE 10:47: The arrest of the demonstrators has been extended for 48 hours (until Tuesday). They have been charged with illegal demonstration, resisting arrest (because they locked up arms in order to be arrested together) and tossing spent tear gas canisters over the fence of the US ambassador’s house. The court will convene again on Tuesday in order to see if any more charges will be filed.


UPDATE 11:40: The police now claim that some of the tear gas canisters were still ‘live’ and thus, the activists are being charged with attacking the US Ambassador’s home. Among the demonstrators arrested are those who were simply in the area and not involved in any protest. There is an appeal being filed right now.






Published on Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (http://www.popularstruggle.org)

Israeli Forces Kill Female Protester in Bil'in


Created 2011-01-01 11:08

Jan 01, 2011


Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital yesterday after inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas during the weekly protest in Bil'in, and died of poisoning this morning. Abu Rahmah was the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah who was also killed during a peaceful protest in Bil'in on April 17th, 2010.

 

Doctors at the Ramallah hospital fought for Jawaher Abu Rahmah's life all night at the Ramallah Hospital, but were unable to save her life. Abu Rahmah suffered from severe asphyxiation caused by tear-gas inhalation yesterday in Bil'in, and was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital unconscious. She was diagnosed as suffering from poisoning caused by the active ingredient in the tear-gas, and did not respond to treatment.

 

Jawaher Abu Rahmah was the sister of Bil'in activist, Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was shot dead with a high velocity tear-gas projectile during a demonstration in the village on April 17th, 2009. See here [7] for a video of his shooting.

 

Media Contact: Jonathan Pollak +972-54-632-7736

 

Mohammed Khatib, a member of the Bil'in Popular Committee said this morning: "We are shocked and furious for Israel's brutality, which once again cost the life of a peaceful demonstrator. Israel's lethal and inhumane response to our struggle will not pass. In the dawn of a new decade, it is time for the world to ask Israel for accountability and to bring about an end to the occupation."

 

Adv. Michael Sfard, who represents the village in an appeal against the Wall added: "The son was killed by a directly aimed projectile, the daughter choked in gas. Two brave protestors against a regime that kills the innocent and doesn't investigate its criminals.  We will not quiet, we will not give up, we will not spare any effort until those responsible will be punished. And they will."

 

http://www.popularstruggle.org/print/613





[Bil'in, West Bank] The indigenous people of Bil'in declared the last day of 2010 will be "The Last Day of The Wall" and over 1,000 marched as "An overwhelming number of Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers spread along the path of the Wall, but were not able to stop demonstrators equipped with bolt-cutters from breaching through the Wall in three places. In one place, the protesters actually managed to carry a rather significant chunk of the Wall back to the village.


Protesters carrying back a dismantled part of the wall back to the village. Picture credit: Hamde Abu Rahmah

Protesters carrying back a dismantled part of the wall back to the village. Picture credit: Hamde Abu Rahmah

 

"One protester was hit in the face with a tear-gas projectile shot directly at him, and required hospitalization. Doctors at the Ramallah hospital are currently fighting for Jawaher Abu Rahmah’s life, after an acute deterioration in her condition this evening. Abu Rahmah suffered from severe asphyxiation during today’s demonstration in Bil’in as a result of tear-gas inhalation, and was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital. She is currently diagnosed as suffering from poisoning caused by the active ingredient in the tear-gas, and is not responding to treatment. Jawaher Abu Rahmah is the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was shot dead with a high velocity tear-gas projectile during a demonstration in Bil’in on April 17th, 2009." [1]


 
Bilin Weekly Demo 31.12.2010
3:27 

 



                        "The wall will fall in Bilin; the wall will fall like in Berlin"

                                              
                                                        The Walls of Berlin and Bil'in


Over twenty years ago the Berlin Wall came crashing down due to the build up of pressures exerted by the Solidarity movement demanding freedom at the time of the demise of Communism. The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolically portrayed the end of the Cold War and proved that walls cannot keep people apart. The Berlin Wall was twenty-seven miles of rolls of barbed wire augmented with a high concrete barrier and watchtowers, floodlights, and a no man's land. A few scaled over, some tunneled below and 136 East Germans died trying to cross it.


A wall twice as high and five times as long as the one that fell in Berlin, is close to completion in the West Bank. One of the chants I learned during one of my four visits to the agricultural village of Bilin, was "The wall will fall in Bilin; the wall will fall like in Berlin".

In Bilin, the Green Line is five miles from the separation barrier and for the last five years every Friday afternoon after prayers at the mosque, Palestinians and growing numbers of Israelis and Internationals have been waging a nonviolent solidarity march in resistance to the route of the construction of Israel's Wall-which in Bilin is twenty feet high of wire fencing that denies the farmers access to their olive groves.

For the last five years of Friday's afternoons after prayer at the mosque, locals, internationals and Israelis of conscience endure tear gas, rubber bullets, sound bombs and other means of 'crowd dispersal' inflicted upon them by Israeli forces in ever escalating force.


Over three years ago, the Israeli High Court ruled that the route of the Wall in Bil'in was illegal and must come down.




My first visit to Bil’in was in January 2006. I met many locals and a few internationals and Israelis who had created their own facts on the ground with an outpost where they held the ground 24/7. They slept for weeks at a time inside the 10x10 brick house on sleeping bags on a dirt floor, a few hundred yards from where a settlement of 700 upscale apartments was being erected for Jewish only settlers upon legally owned Palestinian property.

 

Bil'in Outpost, January 2006:


117_1788



I was inspired to go to Bil'in, after attending a power point lecture in Gainesville, Florida given by a Palestinian and Jonathan Pollak, an Israeli member of Anarchists Against the Wall/AAtW.


Jonathan has been beaten, shot with rubber bullets and arrested numerous times for standing up to the authority of the Israeli Army. He was arrested again on February 18, 2007 and convicted along with 10 other activists for blocking a road in Tel Aviv in protest of the construction of The Wall.


On 27 December 2010, in Tel Aviv, the day that marked the second anniversary of Israel’s 22 days of assault on Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead, Jonathan was sentenced to three months in jail for protesting Israel’s military blockade and siege on the Palestinian territory.


Jonathan was involved in the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC), Critical Mass bicycling event to protest Israel’s blockade of Gaza on January 31, 2008. Police arrested Pollak at the demonstration, accusing him of incitement and of being the leader of the event. In reality, they arrested him for riding a bicycle in Tel Aviv. 


Read Jonathan's statement to the court here: http://972mag.com/israeli-activist-jonathan-pollak-addresses-sentencing-judge/

 



In November 2005, during his Anarchist Against the Wall power-point speaking tour through America, Jonathan Pollak informed this reporter:

 

"I was six years old at my first demonstration and active on my own at thirteen. I am 23 now. When they started to build the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank I would go a few times a week and watch them deceive the world. The Israeli government successfully marketed the Apartheid Wall as a security barrier. But it is all about segregation, separation and ethnic cleansing.

 

"Civilian uprising and non-violent activism is not like the Gandhi movie. It’s not carrying posters and saying we don’t like your wall, go away. We stand in front of Caterpillar’s knowing we will be shot and arrested. I was shot five times in the last two years by rubber bullets, which are 1/2-inch steel bullets covered with plastic. I have been shot in the head and the more experience I have the scarier it is. One learns to recognize the ritual of it all: when the IOF will begin using the Billy clubs, when the tear gas will come, when the bullets will come.

 

“We are not a dialogue group, we are an Israeli organization and we are not colonial liberators. All the strategy is done by Palestinians, we are with them seeking justice and giving support. There is no price to high to pay for freedom, equality and universal rights. Without justice there can be no peace.

 

"Negotiations alone will not secure freedom for the Palestinian people. During the negotiations of the so-called Oslo Peace Process from 1993-2000, Israel simply imposed its will on the Palestinians, using its overwhelming military and economic power, and US support. During seven years of supposed peace, Palestinians saw 200,000 new Israeli settlers arrive in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the same number of settlers that had arrived there in the previous 26 years.

 

"However, the recent grassroots struggle against Israel's Wall has demonstrated that it may be possible to counter Israel's overwhelming power, and its exploitation of negotiations, through nonviolent resistance. The Wall, is just one blatant Israeli attempt to impose its will, and has become a focus for civilian resistance.

 

"Although Israel marketed the Wall as a security barrier, logic suggests such a barrier would be as short and straight as possible. Instead, it snakes deep inside the West Bank, resulting in a route that is twice as long as the Green Line, the internationally recognized border. Israel chose the Wall's path in order to dispossess Palestinians of the maximum land and water, to preserve as many Israeli settlements as possible, and to unilaterally determine a border.

 

"In order to build the Wall Israel is uprooting tens of thousands of ancient olive trees that for many Palestinians are also the last resource to provide food for their children.

 

"The Palestinian aspiration for an independent state is also threatened by the Wall, as it isolates villages from their mother cities and divides the West Bank into disconnected cantons [Bantustans/ghettos]. The Israeli human rights organization B`Tselem conservatively estimates that 500,000 Palestinians are negatively impacted by the Wall.

 

"Faced with a history of suffering, Palestinians have no alternative but to struggle. The only question is how? Killing diminishes our humanity, and Israel's occupation, which has killed thousands of Palestinians, shouldn't be our teacher. It is time for both sides to refuse killing.

 

"Though Palestinians have employed nonviolence since 1929, they have seen little evidence that it will help them to achieve freedom. In 2003-2004, the West Bank village of Budrus decided to set an example for how nonviolence can defeat the Wall.

 

"All the people of Budrus mobilized, and were joined by Israeli and international activists. In 55 nonviolent marches, Israeli soldiers injured more than 300 people, arrested 33 and killed one, as the villagers, with their bodies alone, attempted to stop the destruction of their land. Faced with Budrus` determined protests, the Israeli government eventually moved the Wall to the Green Line. The village saved 300 acres of its land and 3000 olive trees. Children, women and old people were among the heroes of Budrus` nonviolent struggle.

 

"Throughout the West Bank, nine protesters were killed in marches against the Wall, thousands were injured and hundreds arrested. Hundreds of civilian protests throughout the West Bank are the reason the world learned of the injustice of the Wall. As a direct result, the International Court of Justice at the Hague ruled in 2004 that Israel's construction of the Wall violated international law.

 

"The village of Budrus and the International Court of Justice ruling represent victories for nonviolent resistance. Another success of the joint struggle was the connection forged between Palestinians and the Israelis who joined them in their resistance. This connection, stronger than anything that ideas could create, was unwittingly forged by the Israeli army, through their beatings, the joint arrests and the bullets. Joining Palestinians in nonviolent struggle has allowed some Israelis to voice very clearly that the struggle against occupation and for freedom is not a Palestinian struggle alone, but is their struggle as well.

 

"We believe that, as with Apartheid South Africa, Americans have a vital role to play in ending Israeli occupation - by speaking out, coming to Palestine as witnesses, or standing with Palestinians in nonviolent resistance.

 

"We are confident that Israeli occupation will one day be defeated, as were other US government supported repressive regimes - Apartheid South Africa, Pinochet`s Chile and racial segregation in the United States. There is no price too great to pay for freedom, and nothing will deter us from achieving this goal."

 

 

On one of my four trips to Bil'in, after chanting a while in front of the soldiers, Jonathan was the first down the steep rocky hill and over a metal railing to grab the roll of razor sharp barbed wire that is in front of the wall/fence in order to shake it. He was immediately joined by a few dozen locals and other AAtW, who were swiftly greeted by the first of dozens of sound bombs-thick orange plastic grenades that hit the ground with a deafening blast.

 

I was half way down the hill when a teenager next to me threw a rock at a soldier and I know that action alone can get one killed or arrested, so I headed back up the hill before the tear gas and rubber bullets assaulted the crowd at the barbwire. By the time I made it up the hill the first of hundreds of rubber bullets were being shot into the crowd. Only two internationals were hit and other than a few Palestinian adolescents and young boys throwing rocks all remained nonviolent. I was told that because of the large International presence no live ammo was fired; although the week before a Frenchman took a bullet in the arm while standing next to a group of children. He was back at the Friday ritual with a cast and sling on.

 

David Rovics - They're Building a Wall

 

“They're building a wall. And at such a cost. Land, money and safety. And all the lives lost. A wall made of brick but bricks can be broken, when the people of Zion have finally awoken! And said no more walls, no more refugees. No more keeping people upon their knees. And before apartheid was ended they were building a wall."

 

 

_Omq-QG7isA


Vanunu's Message to Hillary Clinton re: The Wall


 

                    "The wall will fall in Bilin; the wall will fall like in Berlin"

 

 

1. http://972mag.com/1000-protest-in-bilin-one-protester-in-critical-condition-from-tear-gas-inhalation/comment-page-1/#comment-2133

 

 




Email from Bil'in:

 

Dear eileen,


At the threshold of the New Year, I write to wish you a new year of freedom and liberation. This has been an unbelievable year for me in both highs and lows. A year during which I have witnessed how, despite repression, ordinary people all across Palestine take to the streets for freedom.


In my village, Bil'in, thousands of people marched on the Wall today to take it down. During the demonstration, one protestor, a 36 year old resident of the village, Jawaher Abu-Rahmah, was critically injured by severe tear-gas inhalation. She is currently hospitalized in Ramallah, unresponsive to medical treatment as the doctors are fighting for her life.



Bil'in has been struggling for almost six years against the Wall that was built on our lands. The illegality and absurdity of this wall has been recognized worldwide, and even by the Israeli Supreme Court, which ruled it must be dismantled over three years ago. Yet the Wall still stands.


We, the people of Bil'in, the people of Palestine, have waited enough. Today was therefore declared by the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements as the last day of the Wall. Together with our supporters, we managed to bring a substantial part of the wall down but we still have a long way to go.



On a personal note, the beginning of 2011 also strikes notes of fear. In just a few days, on January 3rd, 2011, my trial in front of an Israeli military court will draw into conclusion. Captain Sharon Rivlin, the soldier-judge presiding in my case, will hand down my verdict. If found guilty of "incitement", my next letter will likely be written from inside a prison cell; If found guilty, despite having proved that evidence against me was falsified, I will proudly join my friend and comrade, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, who is now spending his second new year's eve behind bars.  PSCC's media coordinator, my friend and brother in struggle, Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak, will also be going to prison, again, for three months on January 11th, for protesting Israel’s siege on Gaza.



We are all facing tremendous challenges, as individuals and as a movement. It is our pride and strength that keeps us going. It is your support and involvement, which is becoming more crucial than ever. Join us – take our struggle forward, so that the year of 2011 will become an historical year of Palestinian liberation and a just peace.  


In solidarity,
Mohammad Khatib


   
 
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