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Activists respond to cellular phone campaign

Anat Shalev | YNet News

21 July 2009

Palestinians protestors and left-wing activists came up with an original response to a television ad for a local cellular phone company that angered and offended many in Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

At television commercial by Cellcom showed Israelis soldiers playing soccer with unseen Palestinians over the separation wall. Critics claimed that the ad reflected Israel’s total disregard for harsh reality in West Bank.

Last Friday, during their weekly demonstration in Bilin, the protestors passed soccer balls to the soldiers, in an attempt to reenact the highly controversial ad. However, instead of getting the balls back, the soldiers responded with tear gas and high-pressure water hoses.

One of the activists, Abdullah told Ynet: “We wanted to show everyone how the soldiers really behave, contrary to what was shown in the ad. This is a message from the protestors on what really goes on at the separation fence – this is what we get from the soldiers, tear gas.”

Hagai Matar, an Israeli activist, said that the violent atmosphere near the fence was far from resembling the pastoral, pleasant atmosphere reflected in the Cellcom advert.

“While the people of Bilin suffer from frequent and repeated harassments by the army, while the residents are subjected to nightly arrests, violence and tear gas, not only during rallies but also in their yards, the people of Bilin continue to use amusing and creative ways to protest the separation fence,” he said.