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(en) WSM* web site, Report from an Irish activist in Palestine

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 21 Aug 2004 07:55:50 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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On Sunday 8th August, three Irish activists (two from Galway
Grassroots and one from WSM*/DGN) joined the Freedom
March along the route of the illegal Apartheid Wall in Palestine.
This is a brief account of the actions we have taken part in.
The march began in Zubabar in the Jenin region on Friday July
30th. On August 8th, we joined the march in Izbat Salman.
At around 6:00pm as the Freedom March arrived at a gate in the fence
section of the Apartheid Wall, which also serves as a checkpoint,
between the village of Azzun Atmah and Beit Amin, we witnessed 15-20
young Palestinian men being detained by the Israeli Army.

We demanded that the young men be released, and were told
that we had 5 minutes to leave the area. We moved a few metres
up the road, and continued observing the checkpoint. The
soldiers followed us and demanded we leave. We sat down and
linked arms.

After five minutes the Israeli soldiers attempted to physically drag
internationals away. Although we tried to protect each other
non-violently, the soldiers managed to detain Karl, a 23 year-old
peace activist from New York. He was beaten in police custody,
told he should be deported for "holding a megaphone", and
released the following day.

Eventually all but one of the young Palestinians were released.
The soldiers took the other one away, claiming they were giving
him a ride home. Two of the men released told us they had been
detained at the checkpoint for over 24 hours.

The following day as we marched through the village of Masha
the occupation forces blocked our path. We linked arms and
attempted to continue walking, at which point the soldiers started
pushing us back, kicking and punching people in the front line.
They tried to drag people out of the crowd, but were
unsuccessful. Eventually they conceded and allowed us to
continue further up the road to an agreed spot. This may not
sound like much of a victory, but the local marchers were
jubilant seeing the soldiers back down.

The soldiers continued to harass the march for the rest of the
day, attempting to block it, pushing us around, trying to arrest
people. A young girl was punched in the neck by one them.

On Wednesday we marched to the village of Budrus, which had
a massive nonviolent campaign against the Wall. Before
marching to Budrus, we had lunch in an olive grove. As we were
leaving the field our path was blocked by soldiers. We kept
marching and exited the field onto the miltary road which the
wall, when completed, will run adjacent to. Soon we were being
flanked by numerous army and police vehicles. As we
approached Budrus, hundreds of villagers came to join us. We
continued marching together. A soldier threw a concussion
grenade into the front of the group, and we continued marching
until we reached the village.

While we were being welcomed to Budrus, the occupation forces
detained a fifteen year old boy. A group of internationals walked
from the village to the trucks where he was being held. The boy
was sitting in the back of a jeep blindfolded. We told the soldiers
they could either release the boy or deal with a few hundred
angry protestors. We stood in the road, intending to block the
jeep if they tried to take him away. After a few minutes the boy
was released.

Yesterday, as we were marching to Deir Qaddis, we crossed a
settler road. Two affinity groups blocked traffic while another
painted slogans against the wall in six foot high letters.

More reports will follow, however we do not have regular internet
* WSM is an anarchist federation in Ireland.

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