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Budrus marks Land Day with olive tree planting and nonviolent resistance

International Solidarity Movement

31 March 2010

Nearly 100 residents of Budrus, Israli activist and internationals comemorated Land Day with a nonviolent march and tree planting action. The IOF used tear gas, sound bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets to violently repress the commemoration. Less than ten villagers were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets resulting in no serious injuries. About fifteen demonstrators were treated on-site for severe tear gas inhalation. There were no arrests made.


Demonstrator places flag on Separation Fence

As the IOF soldiers made their hasty retreat, the demonstrators happened upon the remnants of Israel’s vain attempt to suppress the nonviolent popular resistance. Three barrels of tear gas canisters had been left during the soldiers haphazard exit from the village. Each once housed 400 tear gas canisters and the evidence they had been filled to the brim was scatted about the farmfield.

A lone man sat on a rock about two hundred fifty meters from the fence to where the demonstration had pushed at it’s furthest. A crowd of youth began to stand around the man.
“I’m sitting on the Green Line now,” he began, staring at the fence in the not-so-far off distance. “But they won’t let us farm from here to the fence. They’ve place cameras on these high towers that can look into our homes. We want our privacy and we want to farm. Today is Land Day, so we make a demonstration.”
The day had been long and the man had not lied; they had made quite the demonstration.


Children March through Budrus

The demonstration began with exuberance. The shabab were quite elated. Through the heat, they mustered enough energy for a rare jubilance. Their cries for freedom were catapulted out of their jumping bodies. Halfway to the separation fence, olive trees were set beside the street. Demonstrators grabbed them with great zeal and hoisted them above their heads.

As the demonstration reached the fence, a well-organized frenzy erupted. People began planting the trees within a meter of the thin fence that separated the villagers from their land. Those who weren’t planting, chanted with dignified rage and emotion. The IOf soldiers appeared intimidated and surprised.

After ten minutes the military shot low-flying tear gas at the demonstrators. They went the sides of the road for a brief period as the soldiers locked the inner gate. The villagers, cut of from the trees they had just planted, returned to the fence and resumed their soulful demands for justice.


IOF tear gasses nonviolent demonstration

Because the gate had been closed, the IOF was unable to effectively shoot tear gas at the demonstrators so close to the fence and demonstrators seemed to ignore the percussoin grenades that fell near them. Their attempts to disperse the crowd were in vain. The youth of the village were able to hold their ground for over twenty minutes until the IOF began shooting rubber-coated steel bullets. These lethal shots were illegally shot at heads and torsos. Demonstrators recounted hearing the bullets “whiz” past their heads, coming within a meter their persons.

The IOF opened the gate and drove jeeps toward the village, but were unable to reach the center, because of the demonstrators organized nonviolent community resistance.

After two hours the IOF made a hurried retreat from the village, leaving the remnants of 1200 spent tear gas canisters, percussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets. The villagers continued to demonstrate as close to the separation fence as possible. The IOF then invade the village again with two of the twelve jeeps that had amassed just outside the fence. The were unable to dissolve the demonstration and left after 20 minutes. They returned into the village after a brief time, but seemed to realize that there violent repression would not quell the nonviolent popular struggle in Budrus.

Through the use of nonviolent resistance Budrus successfuly moved the wall into no-man’s land.