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(en) Israel-Palestine, Alt. Media, [Friends of NEFAC] Catalyzed by the Anarchists Against the Wall [EXCERPTS]

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 28 Feb 2004 20:55:36 +0100 (CET)


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I apologize for the length of this posting, but I find it very
moviing. It is a report of some protests against the Apartheid Wall
that Israel is building in the West Bank. I thought that members of
this particular list might be especially interested in it because it
seems that the Israeli group "Anarchists Against the Wall" is playing
an important role in these protests.
J. R.
GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - www.gush-shalom.org/
[Ed. Note: Gush Shalom is a coalition of radical Zionists and
some non zionist leftists. Holding the banner of "Two States
For Two People". They got radiclized during the last Intifada, till
they even support the refusnics.]

International release
Feb. 28, Tel-Aviv

# Racism & the Knesset
# Eyewitness report of killings in Bidou
# Israelis joining anti-wall protest in Budrus - in spite of army blockades
# Against the Wall - in downtown Tel-Aviv


# Racism & the Knesset
<snip>

# Eyewitness report of killings in Bidou

26/02/04

"It was hell. Soldiers shot without a stop.
I saw a Palestinian demonstrator get killed
In front of my eyes." Said Israeli Peace activists
Who took part in the demonstrations in Bidou.


"It was horror. Hell. The soldiers were shooting incessantly.
I saw a Palestinian demonstrator get hit in the forehead and fall
down, bleeding. He died several minutes later" told Jonathan
Polak, an activist in the Anarchists Against Walls movement, who was
amongst the
activists who arrived today at the village of Bidou, in order

To take part in the protest against the fence that was organized by
the people of Bidou. The fence in Bidou, as in many other places,
will cut off a large part
of the village?s land.

Other activists said: "We have never seen such brutality. In the
morning, thousands of
the people of the village went and sat in the path of the bulldozers,
where their olive
groves are about to be uprooted. Then these huge bulldozers came. Each one was
accompanied by 50 soldiers. They attacked the villagers and beat them
brutally, driving
them into the streets of the village. Inside the village a real
battle started. The
youngsters of the village threw stones, and the army responded with
gas bombs, but
very soon moved to using live munitions. They occupied a building in
the center of the
village and snipers shot at people from it?s roof.

We ran to the clinic to try and help,. Wounded people kept coming, at
least Seventy or
Eighty people. In addition to the two who were killed by live
ammunition, another
elderly man died from a heart attack caused by a gas bomb that
entered his home, and a
young boy who is severely wounded in the head.

The only sin of these people is that they tried to protect the land
which is theirs for
generations and their olive trees which are their only source of income.

The army brutality, the brute oppression and the shooting ? all these
confirm all claims
brought against the fence in Hague. It is absolutely clear now that
the fence, built deep
in Palestinian territory, is another means of oppression and
occupation, and has
nothing to do with security."

At the time of this release some activists are in the police station
in the settlement of
Givat Ze'ev, trying to release the many activists arrested during the
demonstration.
***

# Israelis joining anti-wall protest in Budrus - in spite of army blockades

Friday, 27/02

"The army's rampage in Bidou was not an accident. They feel
threatened. For the first
time, there is a widespread popular opposition of Palestinian
villagers to the building of
the wall. That is far more diffucult for the army to confront. They
know how to use tanks
and Apache helicopters, how to drop one-ton bombs. In a purely armed
struggle they
have an enormous advantage. Face them with a crowd of unarmed civilians who are
detemined to resist, and they have a big problem" said Dr. Gadi
Elgazi, historian and
peace activist, at the rendezvous point in Kufr Qasem.

We were on the way to Budrus. The people there decided two months ago
to resist the
creation of the Wall on their land. which was to cut them off from
much of their land and
also from the rest of the West Bank. The army used very much violence there:
demonstrations were broken up, curfews were imposed, the main
organizers picked up
at night and placed under administrative detention. But some military
judges refused to
confirm these detention orders, and the detainess went home! Now, the people of
Budrus hold every Friday a protest march, and they asked Israelis to
join this week.
Some two hundred activists traveled in four buses. The Ta'ayush

[Ed. Note: Ta'ayush is a wide spectrum movement of the radical left.
Mostly of the perifery of the reformist A-Zionist Comunist Party,
but include also more radical people. The Anarchists Against The Wall
started their own initiative as they were fedup with the Ta'ayush
nondemocracy and luckworm activity mode.]

movement chose to
organize this action in its own name rather than through the
anti-Wall Coalition, but as
usual members of other groups joined in. As the buses moved towards the nearby
border with the occupied West Bank, organizers gave last-minute
briefings: "Today we
don't expect extreme violence. But the army will almost certainly try
to stop us. As soon
as we are stopped at a roadblock, get out of the buses and start
walking. We will get
there, by hook or by crook!".

The Rantis Checkpoint, the first point where the convoy might have
been stopped, was
passed with no incident. A bored sentry peered sleepily at the buses
from behind a
massive concrete barrier bearing the regimental slogan: "Empire of
Fire". It seems the
army prefered not to stop the activists on a road which serves
several settlements. The
special barrier appeared several kilomters further ahead - when the
buses turned to the
right, off the well-maintained settler road. Several jeeps blocked
the road completely.
The buses moved off to the side, and demonstrators piled out and swarmed up the
hillside - the most direct route to Budrus. From behind, a police
loudspeaker blared
forlornly: "Stop! Come back! You are entering a closed miltary zone! Anyone
proceeding is liable to arrest and prosecution! Stop!".
Shortly afterwards, a welcome surprise: at the bottom of the hill, a
convoy of large
yellow Palestinian taxis arrived, to offer the Israelis a lift.
Activists scrambled back down
the hill and crowded in, ten to a taxi.
A few kilimetres ahead, at the outskirts of Shukba Village, a new
army roadblock. The
soldiers demanded the taxi ignition keys and the drivers' ID's.
Tight-lipped, the drivers
handed them over, and then urged the Israelis "Go on, go on, don't
worry about us!
They are waiting for you in Budrus!". Several of the Ta'ayush
organisers stayed behind,
to help the drivers haggle with the soldiers (keys and IDs being
returned after an hour).
The demonstrators passed through the main streets of Shukba,
returning the waves of
grinning Palestinian children.
After several kilometres' walking, a new convoy of Palestinian taxis.
This time, the taxis
managed to stop just short of the third checkpoint. By now, we were
at Kibiya Village,
where in 1953 a young major named Ariel Sharon led a commando raid in which 62
civilians were killed.
Present-day Kibya seems dominated by the Palestinian left-wing. Most
of the graffiti on
the walls was in red, as were the flags of the local anti-Wall
demonstrators - from such
Palestinian factions as the People's Party and the Democratic Front.
A short walk ahead, and we were in Budrus. A sizeable crowd was
already waiting in the
main sqaure. A fence at the side was made into a podium, from which
short stirring
speeches were delivered by Ronen of Ta'ayush ("We have come here to
struggle for
our future and your future, in this bleeding land") and Eyad of the
Budrus branch of
Fatah ("You are most welcome in Budrus, together we will pull down
the Wall"). Both
speakers alternated between Hebrew and Arabic and ended with the
exhortation: "Mix
up, mix up! Let the army meet a single block of Israelis and
Palestinians, marching
together!"
The long column stretched through the narrow village streets and out
to the open
fields. There was a medley of signs in Hebrew, Arabic and English,
with a smattering of
other languagues brought along by contingents of internationals -
notably the IWPS
women, based at Khares Village to the north.

"Fence - Annexation"; "Build trust - not walls!"; "Enough of the
bloodshed!"; "Destroy
the Wall, not olive trees"; "U.S. Farmers against the Wall"; "The
wall - starvation";
"Free Palestine - Now"; "No to enclaves, no to ghettos, no to the occupation";
"Detruire le mur raciste" "Destruir el moro racista"; "Sharon - we
have not forgotten the
Kibiya Massacre", "Arab-Jewish Partnership", "Dismantle the Wall, dismantle the
settlements!".

At the front, there were Palestinian national flags on which was
superimposed the
Islamic credo "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His
Prophet". The bearers
smiled broadly at the Israelis and Americans marching at their side,
as did the group of
young women with Islamic headscarves further back.
"Sharon, Sharon, the Hague is waiting for you!" a veteran slogan
gained additional this
week. From it the Hebrew and Arabic chanting shifted to "Peace - Yes!
Occupation -
No! Peace -Yes! Fences - No!" and then "From Budrus to Beit Surik -
the people are
steadfast!", "Sharon, Sharon - we defend our olive trees!" "Budrus is
strong, Budrus is
free!", "Neither Sharon nor Bush - down with the occupation!";
"Sharon Sharon, we are
not afraid of your tanks!"

Half an hour's march - and we were at the spot. The ugly long gash
cutting through the
countryside, where fields and olive groves had been, has become all
too familiar. Here
is stopped just before a terrace, bearing the signs of long and
painstaking care of an
arid soil; any further extension of the work on the Wall would
necessitate its utter
demolition.
"This is how far they got during the last big confrontation, a month
ago. Since then
they did not try to go on. We don't know how long the respite will
last - some say until
the court in the Hague is over. But we keep ready" a villager told
the Israelis.

Opposite us, a clump of some twenty soldiers and grey-clad riot
police. Behind them, a
single silent bulldozer. With the very clear mountain air it was
possible to see on a
ridge, a few kilometres away, the demonstrators from another village
confronting
another clump of army and police.
An hour of stand-off, chanting of slogans, waving of placards, some
talking between
Israelis and Palestinians. Then, the distant cramp of teargas
grenades. Some of the
distant figures on the ridge were stooping down, apparently picking
and throwing
stones. Then the distant soldiers were scambling up the ridge.

Many of the Israelis were for rushing over and interevening in that
struggle. "It's too
far, you won't get there in time" a Palestinian organiser cautioned.
"Anyway, don't
worry about them. The soldiers will never catch them among the crags".
Our sector remained quiet until the very end of the hours-long vigil.
Only when the
column turned back to the village center did the soldiers suddenly
launch a parting
salvo of tear gas grenades. The Palestinians were unperturbed,
quickly handing to the
Israelis slices of onion - the traditional antidote to tear gas.
On the way back, again in the yellow Palestinian taxis - but, again,
the army had its
roadblocks, and the weary Israelis had to walk some four kilometres
back through the
hilly countryside. Then, upon arriving at the buses at last, the
police suddenly pounced
and arrested two randomly chosen activists "on susupicion of entering
a closed military
zone". One bus followed them to the Giv'at Ze'ev Polic Station,
activists keeping vigil
outside until they were released at 9pm.

What remained of this long day: the memory of the final scene at
Budrus - hundreds
upon hundreds of smiling villagers lining the street, waving at the
departing Israelis,
calling out in Hebrew "Goodby, and see you!" [AK].
***

# Against the Wall - in downtown Tel-Aviv

Also Friday, at noon some forty colorful young people stood at the
entrance of the
Carmel Market in Tel-Aviv holding improvised signs and chanting:
"Mom, your son is
cannon fodder!" / "Let's have peace - and the generals be
unemployed!" / Occupation
is terrorism - no wall is to change that!"

Having been beaten-up by police a week earlier at the end of a
similar vigil had not
prevented the Anarchists Against the Wall from returning to the same spot, only
brought them the support of others. This time, after half an hour the
group started
marching, chanting, whistling - leaving the three policemen posted
nearby puzzled-
faced. The unusual sidewalk parade passed all along the down-town
street of King
George, halting a minute at every crossroads - receiving comments of
the people busily
shopping for the weekend: "Go home! Haven't you got something else
to do?" but also
"Good for you, and don't give up!"

At 1pm, they reached the corner of BenTzion Boulevard, where the
Women in Black's
weekly anti-occupation vigil was just starting, with among them still
some grey-haired
who made it their habit for the past 18 years. For some ten minutes
the two groups
stood together, and then the young anarchists continued their walk,
leaving behind
some, among them your reporter. [BZ]
***




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