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F.F.J June 20 2008-The Israeli army has used almost every weapon in their arsenal to impose their apartheid on the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. In many cases these weapons, which are often lethal, are used on the whole of the Palestinian population regardless of whether they are simply trying to lead a private family life or if they are resisting the occupation.
The village of Bilin in particular has been struggling against the apartheid wall and the occupation in a three and a half year nonviolent campaign to save our land using peaceful resistance. Bilin has been holding weekly demonstrations with the participation of local villagers, internationals, and Israeli supporters. In return, the Israeli army has used all manner of violent methods and weapons to silence the Bilin Resistance, even though Bilin’s approach has been non-violent.
This use of disproportionate and sometimes lethal force against peaceful resistance has been perpetuated by the Israeli High Courts decision to “legally” allow the use of live ammunition on peaceful Palestinian protesters, only barring the use of live ammunition when foreign nationals and Israeli Activists are present at these protests. The Israeli Army has now used live ammunition against Palestinian protestors in Bilin with the presence of internationals and Israeli activists there, even in violating its own racist laws. This has lead to many serious injuries to the Bilin villagers, such as Ibrahim Burnat, who was shot with three bullets in his thigh at last weeks protest.
The action of the Israeli Army against the whole of Palestinian Society betrays their rhetoric about security as the purpose of their occupation and instead shines light on what seems to be their true aim; the slow removal of the Palestinian people from their land by any means possible. This includes terrorizing the population through forced transfers, economic starvation, house demolitions, unwarranted arrests, and unchecked killing of the civilian population. This ethnic cleansing is cemented as a reality through the Israeli policies of land confiscation, settlement expansion, and the control of water resources which are the true aims of the apartheid wall and system of occupation.
This week as part of Bilin’s ongoing weekly resistance, the villagers and their international supporters organized a protest against the apartheid wall. The protesters carried signs and banners denouncing the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters. They also raised pictures of some of the villagers who had been wounded by Israeli forces while participating in the protests. Below the pictures of the victims was written “Despite the hatred of your bullets, we will uproot your wall”. Israeli troops responded by showering the protest with tear gas and flash bombs and dozens were treated for tear gas inhalation.
Today, the people of Bilin sent the message that they will not be bullied by Israel’s use of deadly force and their peaceful struggle will continue its effort to bring about the end of the settlements, the destruction of the apartheid wall, and the end of the occupation as a whole.
Thank you for you continued support,
Iyad Burnat- Head of Popular Commitee in Bilin
Head of Friends of Freedom and Justice in Bilin