Supporting the Palestinian Popular Struggle: Bil'in, Nil'in, Kfur Qaddum, al Ma'asra, Nabi Salih and Beit Ummar

Bil'in

10 to 15 Israelis and a similar number of internationals joined each of the last three weekly Palestinian liberty demonstrations in Bil'in. Activities in the demos ranged the burning of the 'Oslo Accords coffin' to solidarity with the Italian No TAV campaign. One demonstration enjoyed the presence of British parliament members and another was joined by a Serbian TV crew. The demonstrations started peacefully, but escalated quickly due to the soldiers' shooting/ pointing guns/ preparing the "skunk" smelly water canon. In two of the three demonstrations, a few demonstrators managed to stage a very brief sit-in on the path between the barbed wire and the wall. In all three demonstrations, after most participants backed off due to the army's violence, the shabab continued to use stones as means for soldier-control, albeit with limited success. Last week soldiers crossed the wall to chase demonstrators and kept shooting gas far beyond the fence, choking many demonstrators. This week gas was shot - surprisingly - in the direction of the kids throwing stones, rather than the peaceful participants standing behind. The shabab then moved to the southern stretch of the wall and continued fighting back with the wind at their backs instead of their faces. During the three demos a few people (including a first aid attendant) suffered direct hits from gas canisters, and many suffered from the tear gas.

Nil'in

Nil'in continues to struggle weekly against the occupation and the Separation Wall cutting the village from its lands even as the army continues to crack down with heavy handed violence on the protesters. Nil'in, it is important to note, was the first village to successfully remove a part of the Separation Wall. Below is video footage from the demonstration on the 21st of September. Please see here for more reports from the weekly demonstrations.

Kfur Qaddum

Although Kfur Qaddum saw many nightly raids during September they continued to show their resistance to the occupation with the weekly demonstrations. Israeli and international activists joined them in their struggle. Almost every Friday now has seen road blocks to the village at an attempt to prevent outsiders from coming to show their support. As per usual the protests in Kfur Qaddum are met with a heavy crack down by the Israeli army via tear-gas, live ammunition, and excursions into the village itself. The village however have continually asserted their right to protest at the illegal occupation, road blocks and night-time raids and arrests. Israeli and international activists also continually show their presence at court regarding the cases of Ahmed Shtiwi. Ahmed was the protester who was bitten by a dog from the Oz Canine Unit six months ago. He was accused of throwing stones and a moment before his released was accused of the same offence on a different date.

al Ma'asara

On the 14th of September 10 Internationals, 5 Israelis and about 30 Palestinians many of whom were children marched through the village to the main road. As we came closer to the main road members of al Ma'asara popular committee and others chained themselves with a long chain, held signs denouncing the Oslo Accords and called for the release of all political prisoners. The army were restrained as we walked to the olive and fruit tree grove. After a while two young children climbed on top of one of the army jeeps and the army decided to take one prominent member of the committee to be detained. A quick, quiet and calm de-arrest ensued by a few Israelis and an Italian activist. The Palestinian activist managed to escape. At this point the army decided to enter the village on foot but then thought better of it as we started to form a line opposite them. We then sat on the road opposite the soldiers chanting and a few speeches were given. The organisers then called an end to the successful protest vowing to return next week like they have every week for over 5 years. As we walked back to the village some activists raised the bar and some stones were thrown in the direction of the army.

Every Friday of September around 10 – 30 Internationals and 1 – 5 Israelis and about 30 Palestinians including many children have joined the struggle in al Ma'asara. Every week the protesters have bravely faced the Israeli army at close range and various actions from graffiti on the riot shields to sit-ins on the road have taken place. The restrain on behalf of the army comes after years of brutal and violent crackdowns on the protesters which nevertheless has never stopped them from asserting their rights to land, water, freedom and justice. Anti-wall and prisoner solidarity protest, Al Mas'ara, West Bank, 14.9.2012

Nabi Salih

Every week for the last month activists from Israel and internationals have joined the struggle in Nabi Salih. There have been arrests almost weekly, and night raids and arrests have continued to occur during the week. On the night of the 10th of September four people were arrested. The army arrived at about 3am, accompanied by a General Secruity Service officer (Shabaq), and arrested Ziad Tamimi (brother of Mustafa) and Mohammad Attia Tamimi their homes. Below is a report from the protest on the 7th of September.

The way to the village was blocked from 6 am, so we parked the car at a distance and walked for over an hour until we arrived for the start of the weekly march, all the passengers from one car were spotted trying to walk to the village and were all arrested. The march walked down the hill where at the bottom the Israeli soldiers were waiting. They began to run and shoot tear-gas grenades towards the unarmed protesters, the shabab responded with stones and two more Israeli activists were arrested as they were documenting the protest. The Israeli soldiers stopped shooting and from then on hardly fired while the shabab continued throwing stones. The soldiers mostly stood there and looked like they are planning something and we expected the worse. Just as we thought all was over the soldiers (young and in-experienced) decided to climb into the village. They came to the edge of the village and started shooting live ammunition towards the sky and tear grenades straight at houses and protesters, after a while they left. All the arrestees where released later that night.

Beit Ummar

Every Saturday the villagers of Beit Ummar protest against the establishment and development of the Carmi Tzur settlement, the Separation Wall and the occupation. On the weekend of the 15th of September the organisers decided to do something different and we, Palestinians, Israeli, internationals and a large media presence headed to protest on the roundabout on the Hebron-Jerusalem road which marks the turning to the bloc of nine Israeli settlements.

For the last month and well into October Beit Ummar as also faced night-time raids and arrests with many of those arrested of a young age including a minor. 15 year old Hossein Ramzy Al Alamy, was arrested on March 31st 2012 when he was attending a peaceful demonstration in Beit Ummar. When he was released the judge told Hossein that if he was seen at a demonstration the next four years he would be jailed for seven months. On Monday the 24th of September the army accused him of participating in peaceful demonstrations. They did not find Hossein at home, and so handed his father, Ramzy, an order for Hossein to meet with the military officers in the Gush Ezion colony. Hossein and his father went to Gush Ezion however Ramzy returned without his son who was imprisoned. Read here for more information on Beit Ummar.

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