Friday: Thousands to mark 5 years of protest in Bil'in

Friday February 19, 2010

Organizers of Bil'in's weekly anti-wall protest expect thousands to turn out on Friday and mark the fifth year of popular action against the continued confiscation of village land by Israel's separation wall.

Caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and leaders of all political factions will be among the demonstrators, a statement from the Bil'in Popular Committee said.

The anniversary will also be a cause to celebrate, coming just one week after an Israeli court ordered that the route of the wall be rerouted. The changes should see Palestinians from the area granted better access to their lands.

Over its five years of protest, Bil'in has seen a sharp increase in violence and repression, with regular night raids targeting protest organizers, thousands injured by riot-dispersal equipment alongside real bullets, and the death of a Palestinian man last year after a tear-gas canister was shot at him from a high-velocity gun. Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh was 29 years old when he was killed.

International attention to the protest movement waxed and waned over the years, with organizers trying varied tactics to communicate the urgency felt by the community in the face of the growing separation wall.

In June 2009, organizers acted out and filmed a real-life scenario based on the Israeli cell phone provider Cellcom's commercial showing soldiers playing a friendly game of soccer with Palestinians over the wall.

In December, organizers took photos of the Israeli military shooting tear gas at Santa-suited demonstrators carrying toy sacks and Christmas trees.

Last week, organizers dressed up as characters from the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar. "Like Palestinians, the Avatars fight imperialism, although the colonizers have different origins," an organizer said. The Avatars' presence in Bil'in "symbolizes the united resistance to imperialism of all kinds."

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Comment by Eva on March 9, 2010 at 8:11pm
Bil'in, a village of Palestine

Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mandela join Bil'in residents in their creative action against the Wall and settlements


by Bil’in Popular Committee


During this week’s demonstration in Bil’in, protestors dressed up in masks representing Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela to commemorate their nonviolent creativity against occupation, oppression and colonialism. The struggles of Gandhi against oppression and occupation in India, Martin Luther King Jr. against racism in the USA and Mandela against the apartheid in South Africa are all similar to Bili’n’s ongoing struggle against occupation here.


The idea to representing these historic activists who fought all types of racism, oppression, occupation and apartheid using nonviolent methods came from the constant determination of Bil’in to use popular nonviolent resistance against the occupation, the wall and the settlements.

The protest was joined by international and Israeli activists, members of the Freedom Theater in Jenin and the Palestinian People’s Struggle Front. Protesters marched on the streets of the village chanting slogans and singing national songs. The protesters carried Palestinian flags and called for national unity against the Israeli occupation and against the confiscation of the Bilal bin Rabah and Ibrahimi mosques in Hebron . Protesters also called on Palestinians to resist the new Israeli policies in the Hebron district.

When the protest reached the wall, an Israeli army unit was situated behind a concrete block. The gate that leads to the confiscated land was already closed and guarded with barbed wire. The army fired teargas canisters and rubber bullets when the protest reached the gate, causing dozens to suffer gas inhalation.

The Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements condemns the recent Israeli policies to target Israeli activists by not allowing them to join protests against the wall in the West Bank , especially in the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin. It also condemns the Israeli decision to demolish 50 homes in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The Israeli authorities recently released Mohamad Abu Rahmah, 24 years old; Mo’tasem Al Khatib, 18 years old; and Kamel Al Khatib, 16 years old, from the Negev prison. All of these young people had spent 8 months in detention for participating in the Bil’in nonviolent protests.


Comment by Stewart Mills on February 20, 2010 at 10:30pm
Thanks Waleed for reminding us of the incredible sacrifice people of Bi'lin have made for so many years.


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