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(en) Israel-Palestine, Biddu: The struggle against the wall.

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 6 May 2004 06:46:47 +0200 (CEST)


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From: Tanya reinhart* <reinhart@post.tau.ac.il> To: mashacamp@yahoogroups.com
Biddu is a beautiful Palestinian village, surrounded with vines and
fruit orchards, a few miles to the east of the Israeli border of 1967.
In the last couple of months, the village, that has lived in peace with
its Israeli neighbors even during the present Intifada, has become yet
another symbol in the history of Israel/Palestine.
The misfortune of this village is that its lands, as well as the lands
of the other small Palestinian villages nearby, border the "Jerusalem
corridor" - a sequence of Israeli neighborhoods to the North of
Jerusalem. Israeli control of this land would enable territorial
continuity "clean of Palestinians" from this corridor to the settlement
of Givat Zeev, built deep inside the occupied West Bank, close to
Ramallah. In the massive annexation project of Sharon and the Israeli
army, this is the kind of land one "does not give up". For this reason,
Israel is imprisoning the villagers inside a wall, and is grabbing their
land. Biddu, and the ten villages around it, are allowed only one option
- to sit quietly and watch as the fruit orchards that they have
nourished from one generation to another, turn into the real-estate
reserves of the Jerusalem corridor.

But rather than obeying, the village of Biddu united with the other
nearby villages to defend their land. In the new model of popular
resistance that has developed along the line of the wall in the West
Bank, the whole village - men women and children - are going out to put
their bodies between the bulldozers and their land. A basic principle in
this form of struggle is that of non-violence. Use of arms is strictly
forbidden, and there is also visible effort on the part of the
communities to restrain the youth from throwing stones. A second
principle of the resistance is that it is a joint struggle of
Palestinians and Israelis, whose fate and future are intertwined. Like
in other areas of the wall, the people of Biddu have called on the
Israelis to join them. -"Raise the voice of reason, the voice of logic,
above the sound of the bullets and the sound of the oppression ..." -
they wrote in an open letter to the settlements and the Israeli
neighborhoods around them.

Indeed, Israelis have answered the call - from the young activists
against the wall**, to the neighbors from the Mevaseret Tzion neighborhood
in the Jerusalem Corridor. Thirty of the latter have also joined an
appeal that the villages submitted to the supreme court of Israel,
against the appropriation of their land. But in the eyes of the army,
this new model of Palestinians and Israelis demonstrating together is
the most dangerous. In Biddu the army has already posed snipers on the
roofs, used live ammunition and killed five Palestinians. Dozens of
others have been wounded. Following the media coverage and the protest,
the army's use of live fire has decreased, but its violence has not. On
April 17, Rabbi Arik Asherman was arrested in Biddu, when he tried to
protect a Palestinian child strapped on to the hood of a military jeep

In response to the violence of the army, the women of Biddu called for a
quiet and small protest demonstration of women only, on Sunday, April
25th. About 30 Israeli women answered the call - women of diverse ages
and from a wide array of occupations. In Biddu, we met with Palestinian
women, and with women from the international organizations active in the
occupied territories. A quiet protest walk started - less then a hundred
women, carrying posters. There was no man in sight, nor children, who
could potentially throw stones. We constituted no threat whatsoever.
But for the army, this does not matter. "We will not allow this
demonstration" - a voice in uniform announced. Tear gas and
stun-grenades directly followed. Paralyzed where I stood, I watched a
hallucinatory scene. In the midst of the fog of smoke and tear gas,
there were still a few women standing, silently lifting their posters in
front of the soldiers. But then, out of the fog burst warriors on
horses and charged into the women holding the posters. I have seen cops
on horses before, but this was a different sight. It was dead clear that
their batons were meant for breaking bones. Molly Malekar, the director
of the Bat-Shalom organization, ended her quiet protest against the
army's violence with a broken shoulder, and a severe blow to her head.

The army blocks any route of protest. It is no longer allowed even to
stand silently with posters. And this does not hold only for
Palestinians. From the army's perspective, we Israelis are also given
only one option - sit silently and watch as our country loses its human
face. But since Israel is still, officially, a democracy, it is not
permissible for the army to be the body that determines the limits of
the freedom to protest. It is necessary to form an independent committee
of inquiry into the army’s violence in Biddu, and to bring those
responsible to justice.


For more on Biddu see Gideon Levy's article 'Fighting the fence'

http://www.tau.ac.il/~reinhart

Yediot Aharonot***, Tuesday, April 20, 2004;
Translated from Hebrew by Netta Van Vliet
==================
* Tania is a long time anarchist activist and academian.
She has a column in the Yediot Aharonot*** daily
** Mostly from the Anarcists Against The Wall initiative
*** Yediot Aharonot is the main Israeli daily - read by
majority of Israelis


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