Today in the village of Bili’n, the villagers confronted the illegal theft of their land at the construction site of the apartheid barrier that will confiscate 60% of their land. I was among dozens of international and Israeli supporters who accompanied this non violent demonstration.
As we approached the lines of soldiers blocking our path to the fence we rushed quickly to the right to gain access to the construction area but were quickly met by yet another line of soldiers who tried to prevent us from passing. With enormous spirit and willpower many of the villagers and activists were able to pass through the soldier’s line and climb over a mound of rocks to gain access to the construction site. The soldiers reacted in their usual manner – with violent beatings.
Four Israeli activists and one Palestinian were manhandled and arrested. The Palestinian and one of the Israelis were released during the demonstration. The other three activists were released later in the evening.
As usual, our non-violent resistance was met with violence by the soldiers who were pushing people about on the rocky terrain and dragging the arrestees and potential arrestees who managed to get away from the soldier’s grip. A few of the soldiers present seemed very intent on hurting people and were seen being very aggressive and violent time and again.
A 61 year old Spanish activist was pushed off of a rocky ledge by a soldier and broke her shoulder. She is currently hospitalized in Ramallah, and will not be able to leave the area for one week. The Israeli military’s use of violence against peaceful Palestinian demonstrations is unfortunately commonplace in occupied Palestine and continues to plague the Palestinian’s struggle for freedom and self determination in their own lands.