Friday, June 12, 2009

B'ilin and Ni'lin Protest Reportbacks

Maria and I went to B'ilin while Joe went with the Brits to the Ni'lin protests which happened simultaneously (he will write about his encounter when he gets back).

B'ilin is situated in the West Bank somewhat near Jerusalem. Part of Israelis separation wall is being built through it at the expense of its 1800 inhabitants. It also separates the town from 60 percent of its farming land. Protests have occurred there every friday for the last 4 years with support from internationals and Israelis. A protester was recently killed there at a protest and today, protesters carried his picture on top of metal sheilds towards the wall.

The Code Pink Delegation went to the B'ilin protest too and joined the march with a group of folks from Anarchists Against the Wall and some Israeli independent journalists... some folks from the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions was also there. The main protest took off from the village square after noon prayers following the local Palestinian committee and tons of Palestinian flags.

As soon as the march got near a barbed wire pen in front of the wall, one of the Palestinians used a big pair of bolt cutters to start cutting. At that second, the Israeli soldiers begin firing tear gas at us from their defensive position behind the wall.Some of the Palestinian youth (called "shabab" in arabic) began slinging stones at the Israeli position. The israelis kept firing tear gas at a near constant rate for the duration of the protest. Occasionally they also fired rubber bullets. One of the Palestinians was hurt during the protest, but it wasn't serious and he went right back to it.

After getting beaten back by volleys of tear gas, the main protest went right back up the hill towards the wall to get another devestating amount of tear gas canasters shot at them. Some didn't explode and the Shabab picked them up and hurled them back at the Israeli soldiers. When it became clear that the main gate of the fence was getting too many rubber bullets, the youth turned to a fence adjecent to it. A constant barrage of tear gas on them eventually forced them out. And with that, the protest was over. These protests happen every week and every week are met with intense violent reactions from the Israeli soldiers.
Joe will update soon on his attendence of the Ni'lin demonstration

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