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(en) Britain-Israel-Palestine, The Wall and the Anarchists Against The Wall.

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 2 Aug 2004 09:16:25 +0200 (CEST)


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Introduction: AF* Intro: this is the text of a talk given in Manchester on June
7th, 2004. It has been edited slightly. We have tried to use most of the pictures
Uri showed during his talk. As this makes it a very large file, we have broken it
down into smaller chunks. Follow the link at the end of each page (starting at:
http://www.af-north.org/wall.htm). Some of the later sections are still under
construction and have text and no photos. My name is Uri Ayalon I’m an Israeli
and I'm working as a journalist and as a facilitator in the school of peace in
Neve-Shalom Wahat al-Salam. As a journalist I used to be the media reporter of
“Haaretz” newspaper and now I’m writing articles about politics and culture for
“Walla” website, and also I’m the theatre critic of the finance newspaper “Globes”.

I have been an activist since I was 13 years old. After the murder
of Rachel Corrie on March 2003, I decided to devote my time and
power to the struggle against the Israeli occupation. In the last
few months I'm participating in the civil protest against the
"Separation Fence". As part of a group named "Anarchist
Against the Wall" I've attended a lot of demo's in the occupited
teritorrie as well as direct action, such as the famous cutting of
the fence on the day the soldiers fired at us seriously injuring one
of my friend – Gil Na’amati.

I’m here not only in the name of my group or my friends in
the radical left of Israel. I’m here in the name of my good
friend Mohanad from Nablus and in the name of Nazee from
Mas’ha. Nazee and Mohanad not only can’t go aboard to
the UK, they even can’t go outside their village or city.

My lecture will deal with:

The history of the occupation since 1947

The history of the aparthaid wall

How does it look and what does it do to the Palestinians

And then I’ll show a short movie (of 4 minutes) about the
new kind of resistance against the wall that started few months
ago by the people who live near the wall. I’ll talk about the
change in the Palestinan tactic and I’ll also review the Israeli
forces that join and help this new activities.

xx

A short history of the occupation:

· According to the decision of the UN this should be the
distribution between the Palestinians and the Jewish people who
lived in Palestine. The Jewish were only 600,000 - 37% of the
population, but they got 55% of the land. Almost half of the
Palestinians should have been under Israeli control. This
decision of the UN made Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq join to
the Palestinian people in the struggle against the new state of
Israel.

xxx

· In the end of the war of 1948 – which contained
horrible massacres and expulsions, 2.5 millions of Palestinians
became refugees.

· In the war of 1967 Israel occupied the Golan hights,
Sinai, the west bank and Gaza strip. Before 1967 only 400,000
Palestinians were residents of Israel, in the occupation of 1967
1.1 millions Palestinians were added (a lot of them were all ready
refugees). Few days after the war a small Israeli radical left
group “Matzpen” (“compass”) published this
statement: “ occupation leads to foreign regime, that leads to
resistance, that leads to oppression, that leads to terror and
opposite terror. Keep holding the occupied territories will turn us
to a people of murders and victims of murders”.

xxx

· The Intifada (“rising up”) of the Palestinians that
started on 1987 brought to the beginning of the “peace
process” in 1993. Rabin’s government signed the Oslo
agreement with the PLO and most of the Israelis felt that we are
putting an end to the occupation and starting new relationships
with the Palestinians and with the Arab world. But the reality in
the occupied territories was different (areas A, B and C –
separeted the Palestinians in to bantutsans).

· The disappointed from the so called “peace
process” together with provocation in Al-Aqsa mosque, one
of the holly places for the Muslims in Jerusalem of Ariel Sharon
who was the leader of the opposition in the parliament at that
time lead to The 2nd Intifada. Since October 2000 Palestinians
fighters killed more then 1,000 Israelis. Israel re-occupied the
territories and killed more then 3,000 Palestinians. Suicide
bombers are the most terrified issue for most of the Israelis
bringing the territories into the green line (the border between
Israel to the west bank).


xxx

· According to the Israeli government the fence is meant
purely to prevent suicide bombers from getting into Israel, not to
set the country's borders. The settlers feared that the fence would
be made on the Green Line and leave them outside. That is why
the right wings apposed the fence especially Ariel Sharon. In
practice, the fence's root takes as much as it can from the land of
the West Bank without considering security issues. The fence is
actually a system of fences that will imprison hundreds of
thousands of Palestinians in barbed wire-enclosed enclaves.

xxx

The History of the Wall:

· Since 1994 the Gaza Strip has been surrounded by a
barrier that cuts off the residents from the rest of the world
(especially from the West Bank); Gazza has no economic
autonomy, Israel controls everybody and everything that goes in
and out of the strip.


The Fence of
The Gaza Strip



· In November 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak (Labor
party) approved the first project to build a "barrier". His election
campaign was: “We are here – they are there”. The
leader of the opposition, Ariel Sharon, was one of the main
opponent to the idea of a fence. He didn’t want to give in the
dream of “Big Israel” - from the Jordan to the sea.


xxx xxxx



xxx xxx

xxx

· In June 2002, the new government of Israel, leading by
Ariel Sharon, decided to build a physical barrier to separate Israel
and the West Bank in order to prevent the uncontrolled entry of
Palestinians into Israel. Construction of the Wall, including land
confiscation and the uprooting of trees in Jenin.


xxx xxxxxx



xxxx xxx

· Only In September 2002, the first public map of the
Wall-consisting of only the northern part -was made available to
the public.

· In March 2003 Sharon declared the expansion of the Wall
by building a wall within and along the entire Jordan Valley,
bringing the settlements in this area under total Israeli control.

· In July 2003, the Israeli defense Ministry announced the
completion of the "first phase" of the Wall, a total of 145 km
from the planned 728 km . The Israeli government allotted an
additional $171 million for the construction of the Wall. The Wall
costs some $3 billion, approximately $4 million per kilometer.
On any given day have 500 bulldozers at work, paving and
building one of the largest projects in the history of the country.

· Currently, it has been already built in the districts of
Qalqiliya, Tulkarem and Jenin (from salem to masha) and being
built in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem. In 2005, the entire
project should be finished.

· Besides the horrific humanistic and economic reality that
the wall imposes on the Palestinian people, the wall is the biggest
environmental disaster in the history of Israel.

http://www.af-north.org/wall2.htm

What does it look like?
xxxxxx

* Actually it’s a system of electric fences, barbed wire,
trenches, patrol roads, trace paths, cameras and sensors. The
fence it self is 3 meters high.


xxx

* The concrete Wall, now present in Qalqiliya, parts of
Tulkarem and East Jerusalem (always near houses) is 8 meters
high – twice the height of the Berlin Wall - with armed
watchtowers and a "buffer zone"of 30-100 meters. The Wall's
"buffer zone" paves the way for demolitions and the expulsion of
nearby residents as in many places the Wall is located just meters
away from homes, shops, and schools.



xxxx

* The Israeli military has created gates in the Wall; however
these do not provide any guarantee for farmers to access their
land but instead creates system of permits and checkpoints
where Palestinians are humiliated.xxxx



xxxxxxxxxx
xx

* This is in addition to more then 600 checkpoints that the
Israeli army made in the last 3 years. 56 of them are permanent
and the others are changing and most of the time blocking the
roads without any soldiers but with stones. This creates a system
of only-Jewish roads all over the west bank. This is one of the
evil faces of the occupation preventing the people the freedom of
movement and letting them waited for hours and being
controlled by young soldiers.

xxx

* It’s important to remember that the Israeli army controls
both of the sides of the fence (!).xxx

The Route of the wall

* The Wall is not being built on, or in most cases near, the
1967 Green Line, but rather cuts deep into the West Bank, 6-7
km from the green line

* Isolating communities into cantons, closed-off by an
"Isolation Barrier" ensuring they are surrounded on all sides.

* The lands between the Wall and the Green Line have been
declared by Israel as a “seam zone” whereby all residents
and lands owners must obtain a permit to remain in their homes
and on their lands. 11,700 people in 13 villages will be
imprisoned between the wall and the green line. This not
includes over 200,000 residents of East Jerusalem, who will be
totally isolated from the rest of the West Bank.

* 98 % of the settler population will be included in the Israeli
side of the fence. At the demand of the Israeli settlers, the wall is
planned to move far further to the east, to include the settlements
of Ariel, Emanuel and Kedumim. This will increase dramatically
the number of Palestinians who will be affected by the wall.

* The control of the water sources is an important motivation
for the Israeli government in steeling the land in north-west bank
area. This land sits above the mountain aquifer (a huge
underground reservoir) witch is one of the main water sources for
central Israel (providing 600 million kub’ of water every
year).

* The wall is expected to have a devastating impact on the
lives of some 210,000 Palestinians, living in 67 towns or villages.

* If the east fences will be built The Palestinian population in
the West Bank and Gaza Strip would live on only 12% of historic
Palestine.

Creating Ghettos

* The Wall encircles regions with the highest Palestinian
population density into ghettos. The isolation from basic services
in these areas along with the loss of land, markets, and
resources, equates to the inability for communities to sustain
themselves adequately and with dignity.

* Farming is a primary source of income in the Palestinian
communities situated along the barrier's route, an area that
constitutes one of the most fertile areas in the West Bank. The
harm to the farming sector will have and already has drastic
economic effects on the residents and drive many families into
poverty.

* The barrier will also significantly reduce access of the
population to the hospitals in nearby cities. The educational
system will also be harmed because many teachers come from
outside the communities in which they teach.

* According to the Israeli state’s report from 2002, most of
the Palestinians who did attacks in Israel entered the country
through the checkpoints situated along the Green Line, and not
through the open areas between the checkpoints. This why the
current rout has little to do with the security of Israeli civilians.

* In the past, Israel used "imperative military needs" to justify
expropriation of land to establish settlements and argued that the
action was temporary. The settlements have for some time been
facts on the ground. It is reasonable to assume that, as in the
case of the settlements, the separation barrier will become a
permanent fact to support Israel's future claim to take additional
land.

* Qualqiliya is one of the cities which became a huge prison.
The wall sarronding Qalqiliya completely, leaving one opening
guarded by two checkpoints. The city, once was the centre of
commerce, is ding these days with more and more people who
leaves it to the village area tring to live from farmring.

* Jerusalem - The Wall in Jerusalem and the ring of
settelments around it, furthering the completing the isolation of
Jerusalem from the West Bank. At the same time, the Wall rips
through villages and neighborhoods, separating families, cutting
social and economic ties, and ghettoizing areas.

* Its not separating the Israelis from Palestinians but
separating Palestinians from each other and from there
livelihood, schools, hospitals and all municipal services.


The new kind of resistance against the wall:

* Almost every morning the residents of villages located on the
planned route of the separation fence - wake up to the noise of
the bulldozers. In the early morning the heavy machinery
rumbles into the area, surrounded by security guards and army.

* The construction of the barrier has brought new restrictions
on movement for Palestinians living near the barrier's route, in
addition to the widespread restrictions that have been in place
since the outbreak of the current Intifada. You can term this
uprising, which involves a civilian population of all ages, the
"Intifada of the fence," as distinct from the more familiar one of
the attacks and the armed fighters.

* Almost every day the villagers go out to their land: men and
women, young and old. They position themselves opposite the
soldiers, wave flags and try to get to the machines or sit down on
the ground in an attempt to block them.

* Violence would usually break out after the demonstration
disperses. Usually soldiers would shoot rubber coated metal
bullets, shock grenades and tear gas at the crowd. Soldiers would
sometimes even enter the village and chase people into houses.

* For their part, the young people would respond with stone
throwing from a distance of 100 meters, and it's obvious that this
is symbolic and can't really hurt anyone. Sometimes three hours
of an encounter go by without one stone being thrown, and then
suddenly the soldiers “lose it” and start throwing tear-gas
and then all hell breaks loose.

* The Palestinian Authority has played a very small role in the
events of the past few months. The current uprising started from
below, from people who watch their land being taken.

* In some of the events, the Palestinian demonstrators are
bolstered by Israelis, ranging in number from a few individuals to
dozens, mainly from the “Anarchists Against the Wall”
group, and by international peace activists who also document
the events on video. Although the form of organization is
anarchistic in the sense of no centralized power and direct
participatory democracy, not all the participants consider
themselves as anarchists.

* Since the end of 2003 the group has been mostly active in
supporting Palestinian demonstrations against the wall. The
main aims are to reduce the threat of violence against the
Palestinians and to increase media attention.

* We believe that a nonviolent struggle puts more pressure on
the Israelis. When the army has to deal with civilians, it has to
bring in a far larger number of soldiers. They can't open fire at
them freely, or at least we hope not.

* In spite of the best efforts by organizers, almost every week
of demonstrations ends with at least a few wounded. 262 people
have been injured and 5 killed in the village Biddu (near
Jerusalem). One of those killed was a boy of 11.

* Budrus, a small village close to the Green Line, Since
November 2003 has been the model for what has come to be
called “The Third Intifada”: Popular resistance to the
wall by whole villages.

* In January two brothers from Budrus were arrested within a
few days by the Shin Bet security service, on the grounds that
"the intelligence material attributes terror-supporting activity to
them." However, the military justice system itself rejected this,
stating that the military prosecution and the Shin Bet had misled
the court by claiming he had been involved in terrorist activity
and adding that protest activity against the fence does not
constitute a cause for arrest.

* On March 29, at Bitunia (near Ramallah) Soldiers and
demonstrators met on a dirt road at the entrance to the village.
An army Jeep tried to move forward and a group of
demonstrators, with Jonathan Pollak among them, attempted to
block its progress. The driver accelerated and moved forward.
Two of the demonstrators managed to jump aside, but Pollak,
who was in the center, found himself on the hood of the Jeep
which kept going and even speeded up. It went a few dozen
meters, did a U-turn and then returned to its starting point,
where it slowed down, and Pollak was able to jump off.

* On March 12, Itai Levinsky was injured in Hirbata. The
army simply fired rubber bullets like crazy. Itai was standing in
front and talking to the soldiers by the megaphone. At every
demonstration we talk to the soldiers by a megaphone and tell
them that this is a quiet demonstration of Palestinians, Israelis
and internationals. While Itay was talking on the megaphone he
took a rubber bullet between his nose and his left eye.

* The day when an Israeli will be killed is approaching. Of
course, it's not worse for an Israeli to be killed than for a
Palestinian, but it illustrates the escalation of the use of force. At
first we thought the cameras would deter them, then we thought
the presence of Israelis would be a deterrent, but now there is
nothing that deters the soldiers. What they are doing now is
shooting the Palestinian peace camp.

* The participation of women in this struglle is uniqe. The
Palestinian women don’t usually get the opportunity to get
involve with politic actions. The dacition of letting the women to
go to the demonstrations and talk with the soldairs and block the
buldozers the Palestinians arren not only a better coverage in the
media but also give more power the the women them selfs. I
believe it is sing of a women’s lib from a very old tradition of
a patriachal sociaty. Some of the demonstrations are for womens
only, organized by the women of the village combining Israeli
and Palestinians femenist activists.

The Israeli Position

· The settlers

· Likud

· Labor and Meretz

· Radical left wings (Anti-Zionist)

Israeli resistance against the occupation since October 2000:

* Ta’ayush: A join Israeli-Palestinian group that was
created after the beginning of the 2nd Intifada (October 2000).
This month was one of the only cases that the Palestinians who
lives in Israel actively resisted and raise their voice in solidarity
with their brothers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“Ta’ayush” (“partnership” in Arabic) are
doing many actions in the territories: bringing food to cities in
closer and helping farmers to work their land

* Gush-shalom: An Israeli group that was created by Uri and
Rachel Avnery after the decision of Rabin’s government in
1992 to expulse 415 Hamas members to Lebanon. That was an
important moment for the extreme Israeli left who started to
understand that this “left” government is not what he
thinks or hopes it will be.

* Others groups: Women’s Coalition [a short movie of
them is available], Machsom Watch, The Israeli committee
against house demolitions, Rabbis for Peace, the different groups
of refusers (the young one who refuses to go to the army at all,
the reserves who don’t agree to serve in the occupied
territories, the pilots and more. More than 600 refusers) and also-

* Black Laundry: a group of gays and lesbians fighting
together for queer rights, feminist issues, social justice and
against the occupation. It was created for the Tel-Aviv gay
parade on 2001, few months after the beginning of the second
Intifada. People were murdered in the territories and we felt that
we can’t celebrate as usual. In the beginning it was not clear
for the left activists why we should come as gays to
demonstrations against the wall, but after a lot of actions and
discussions I can say that our visibility is accepted and welcome.
This, I can’t really say about our Palestinians partners so in
the territories we usually go back to the closet. Mas’ha camp
was unique in this aspect.

* Independent activists working with the ISM: many Israelis
worked with the ISM, but there was a feeling of need to make the
fact that Israelis were resisting (in the same methods of the ISM)
- important, both for the Israeli public and for the Palestinian
public (and also internationally). Israelis also come from a
different perspective and culture then the internationals and
it’s important to create an autonomist group resisting
together with Palestinians and internationals but as a separate
group.

* After a few actions against the wall in Israel and Palestine, a
small group started to come together and started building a
trusted reputation of Israeli direct action activists willing to
struggle together with local Palestinians against the wall.

* In March 2003 the village of Mas’ha invited the group to
build a protest tent on the land of the village that was being
stolen for the wall (98% of Mas’ha land was taken). The
protest camp was created and became a center of struggle and
information against the planned construction in the area and in
the whole west bank. Over the 4 months of the camp more than
thousand of Internationals and Israelis came to the camp to learn
about the situation and join the struggle.

* In August 2003, we've found out that in the morning the
construstors of the wall intend to start working inside Hani
Ammer's yard at the edge of the village of Mas'ha. In order to
construct the wall inside the yard. Several structures had to be
destroyed (crippling ammer's sources of income) and the final
plan is to have his yard surrounded with fences (from four sides),
and to "allow" his family and visitors to enter and exit the yard
only on specific times during the day (as if it were a prison
camp). Early morning 5th of August all structures but the house
itseld were destroyed, a total of more than 60 Palestinian, Israeli
and international activists were sleeping in the tent on that night
and they detained and were arrested. The next day, 28 Israelis
came again and we managed to stop the bulldozers from
destroying Hani’s yard for a few hours. Then, the army
arrested us all.

* During the camp a direct action group calling itself
“Anarchist Against the Fence”, or: “Jewish Against
Ghettos”, or simply: “Anarchist against walls”, was
created. We started to make graffiti on the wall, as well as put a
giant poster on it. The group also held many joint actions across
the territories. For example: Salem (July), Anin (August) and
Zbube (9th November) in which we succeeded in breaking the
fence. These actions built a growing reputation in the Palestinian
public but got almost no attention from the Israeli press and
media.

* December 26, 2003 might be the turning point. That was the
day on which an Israeli demonstrating against the fence, Gil
Na'amati, was shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers at the village
of Mas’ha. This action had a big impact on the struggle
against the fence. We came to the gate of the apartheid fence
built between Ma’sha to the settlement Elkana. Against all of
the army's promises,
at the few previous weeks the gate stayed shut, and prevented
the people of Ma’sha from reaching their fields and sources
of income. The soldiers started to shoot in the air and on the
ground near us. In spite of our load calls and signs (in Hebrew)
after 5 minutes and without any warning, the soldiers started to
shoot live ammunition towards us, from which Gil's legs were
hit.

* Now 6 months later he is still can’t walk propery. The
Israeli army decided that the soldiers who shot us were acting
according to the rule that says that everyone trying to go through
the fence is a threat to the lives of the people around him.

* After this action we wrote: “In Mas'ha we experienced
on our own flesh the life reality of our Palestinian brothers. By
shooting (with live ammunition) us, Israeli activists, the Israeli
army took a step with out precedence, and crossed another red
line. However, this must remind us the daily continuation of
harassment of the army in the occupied territories, where the
killing, the blockade, the strangulation, the invasion and the
annexation do not stop. Shooting us will not deter us from
continuing the active resistance to the apartheid wall and to the
cruel occupation monster”.

* Because of the shock from the fact that Israeli soldier shot
another Israeli (who was himself released from the army a few
weeks before the action), and also being almost the only Israeli
movement that talks about the fact that the Jewish people create
ghettos for other people – we had a huge interest at our
group. The Israeli media started to deal not only with the
Anarchist issue, but also with the problems of the fence that used
to have a very good reputation before.

* A day after a big spontaneous demonstration was held in
front of the security minister's office in Tel-Aviv. In one moment
300 people started blocking the road preventing the cars from
moving. 8 people were arrested. For most of them it was the first
action of disobedience.

* One week later, a joint direct action with Ta’ayush
group was disturbanned by the police. They stopped 6 busses of
activists, and prevented us from getting into the territories to Dir
Balut, a village that was imprisoned by the fence. 28 people were
arrested while blocking the main road of settlers in the west
bank.

* The protest hasn’t stoped: Few weeks ago after the
invasion to Rafa, we had a very big direct action succeeding to
break the checkpoint of the Gaza Strip and go inside, as a
solidarity act with the people of Rafa.

Our activities require money. As you can guess we are not a rich
people and there are not many Israelis who want to donate our
activitis. I brought Video cassetes of very good films about the
occopation, Organic soup from Mas’ha village, CDs with
this presentation and a 40 minutes movie about the new
resistance against the wall, anti wall buttens, anarchist and anti
occupation patches and also maps of the Wall. Please buy this
stuff and help us to circulate the information. You can pay more
than the price we ask and with the money that you will donate us
we will buy a mobile phone and pay for our ridings in our activitis
in the territories.
==================================
* AF is the Anarchist Federation of Britain.


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