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(en) Israel-Palestine, An account of the shooting of Israeli protester Gil Na'amati in the Anarchists Against The wall initiative*

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 28 Dec 2003 10:23:23 +0100 (CET)

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by Dan Shohet The Electronic Intifada 26 December 2003
In the early afternoon today, in the middle of a direct,
nonviolent action against the Apartheid system of walls and
fences in the occupied West Bank, an Israeli citizen was
shot in his leg by soldiers of the Israeli army.

Gil Na'amati, whom I hadn't met until today, was on the
front line of Israeli activists who went to the fence to cut
it or break it down. I was a few meters behind him, watching
the soldiers and helping to take care of the barrier of the
road just behind the fence. 20 meters ahead of us were the
soldiers, 2 or 3 military jeeps.

The rest of the protesters were 10 meters behind us,
including all the Palestinian participants, who were on
purpose left behind, knowing that any Palestinian presence
in the nonviolent direct action, would end in a violent
bloodshed, with the soldiers stopping the action in the most
brutal ways there are.

Further behind us, to the east, was the Palestinian village
of Mas'Ha -- where we all just came from. And further in
front, behind the soldiers on the other side of the fence,
were the lands of Mas'Ha, and three Israeli settlements that
were built upon them, now unofficially annexed to Israel by
the Apartheid wall and fence. The location of the action was
a perfect example of all that is bad and racist about the
separation wall/fence -- and now, that spot is also stained
with the blood of an innocent young man.

We left Tel Aviv earlier in the morning, in a bus full of
Israeli activists. Next to the village of Mas'Ha, we met
with many Israeli and international activists, most of them
coming directly from the village of Deir Balut, after
staying the night in the protest camp being held there for
the same reason. With them came several of Deir Balut
people, including the village's mayor, in solidarity with
their brothers in Mas'Ha.

After a short gathering, for the planning and coordination
of the action, we met in the village center with about 100
Palestinians, and started marching towards the fence. All
together, we were maybe close to 200 people.

As we reached the fence some of the Israelis and
internationals went out front, trying to tear down that
symbolic piece of the fence. The soldiers reacted almost
immediately by shooting live bullets in the air. There was
no use of tear gas, nor even a use of loud speakers to warn
of shooting towards us.

None of the soldiers (or anyone else) was threatened, no
violence was used by the protesters towards anyone, and the
soldiers were clearly aware that there were Israelis there.
Shouting and chanting in Hebrew were yelled towards them,
including the chant "Refuse! Refuse!". Just a few minutes
later, when the soldiers shot again, I thought it was again
just shots in the air. Then I saw one of the protesters
being carried back with blood covering his pants and
dripping on the road. Another foreign citizen was injured in
her leg, less seriously.

Some of us went backwards. Others went forwards, in spite of
the shooting, and with a very effective and short effort,
broke a part of the fence, opening the road to Mas'Ha land.
Than all the protestors retreated to the village.

We stayed in the village for about an hour more. As we left,
we heard reports from the village about military activity
inside the village. Of course, the Apartheid system prevents
Palestinians from crossing the fences and walls and getting
out -- but does not prevents soldiers from coming in.

One of the reports was about a curfew declared there in the
middle of the day. A group of us had decided to go back to
the village, until later in the day or next morning, to make
sure the army did not come back to punish the Palestinians
for direct action protest by Israelis who want peace.
Another group, including friends of Gil, the Israeli who was
wounded, had gone to see him in the hospital. And others
went back to Deir Balut, where the protest camp is based
until next Friday.

Coming home, I have heard in the media several of the lies
the military spokesman office had published: that the
soldiers had warned us, that they were trying to evacuate us
peacefully, that they had used tear gas first, and that the
protesters were violent, and that the action was a "riot".

These are the exact same lies I have heard many times
before, whenever the Israeli media publishes anything about
the "riots" of Palestinians, or about Palestinians who were
killed after "meeting the security forces". The same system
that allows and encourages soldiers to commit crimes against
Palestinians -- and then denies those crimes and claims they
never happened -- was apparent in this case too.

Normally, this "lie and deny" policy is used after a crime
towards Palestinians. But this time, after a crime towards
an Israeli citizen, who was no threat to anyone in any way,
I guess we Israelis can only blame ourselves for not being
effective enough struggling against the oppression of the
Palestinian people. After so many years of oppressing
others, the Israeli regime is now clearly oppressing us too.

I talked a bit with Gil's friends later on. He is a young
man, from a kibbutz in the south of Israel. He was not
active before today's demo, though he always believed in
peace and human rights.

From other media reports and from e-mails being passed
around, I learned that Gil is still at the hospital and is
regarded to be seriously wounded. Also, I know that Yonatan,
one of the Israelis who coordinated the action and camp in
Deir Balut was arrested later on, after giving a testimony
about the shooting. How typical -- unarmed protesters were
shot at, yet a protester is arrested and not the soldiers
who shot or the commander who gave the order.

The struggle against the Apartheid walls and fences goes on,
and will probably become bigger, stronger, and more radical.
Already tomorrow at noon, Saturday, there will be a big
demonstration in the town of Qalqilya, which is completely
surrounded by a wall. In the evening there will be a protest
in front of the ministry of "security" and army
headquarters, in the Kirya in Tel Aviv, against the shooting
today. And, of course, the camp in Deir Balut is still on,
for another week.

Dan Shohet is a student in Tel Aviv University and a peace

* Ed. Note:
The last initiative background is years of Intifada and mild protest
and other activities of the reformist Communist influenced Ta'Ayush'
and the "two states" slogan shared by them and Zionist left opponents
to the occupation.

Fed up with the activities of the Zionist left and authoritarian left,
the Israeli anarchists organized their own initiative called
Anarchist Against the wall. The present activity was an enhancement
of a persistent activity of nearly a year.

The previous direct action against the wall was carried by Anarchist
Against the wall initiative in Zabuba.

The present direct action was part of the two weeks international camp
initiated by Anarchist Against the wall at Deir Balut.

The present activity and the big demonstration at Saturday in protest
of the shooting were the first one the slogan "two states for two people"
was absent.

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