24 July 2009
Immediately after Friday prayers today, Bil’in citizens, International supporters, and Israeli activists went out in a demonstration, raising Palestinian flags and banners condemning the occupation policies of building the wall, land confiscation, building settlements, roads closures, the siege of cities, killing civilians, house raids, and the arresting of children.
Palestinian Minister of Affairs Related to the Apartheid Wall, Mr. Maher Ghuneim, also participated in the demonstration, and listened to a comprehensive explanation from the Popular Committee for Resistance Against the Wall about the experiences of the Bil’in community and its most recent developments. The Minister affirmed the government’s support for the popular resistance, pointing to the fact that there are no current negotiations on the question of the presence of settlements and the wall.
The gathering began at the center of the village, with participants chanting slogans against the Occupation, calls for national unity, and releasing the thousands of prisoners in the Israeli prisons –many being held without being charged. The demonstrators turned towards the wall after trying to cross into the land incorporated by the wall. Upon arrival one of the demonstrators threw a football (soccer ball) at the soldiers. Right away the Israeli soldiers responded by opening a tear gas assault. This football activity was in response to the recent airing of a recent Israel TV commercial (Cellcome Mobile Phones), in which Israeli soldiers are playing football with a Palestinian football that accidentally comes flying over the wall. The TV commercial makes light of the Palestinian situation, shows the Israeli soldiers having fun at the Palestinian expense, and ignores and mocks the real suffering, racial discrimination, and poverty the Palestinians on the other side of the wall face daily.
Demonstrators were able to approach the wall, but while they were chanting slogans against side of the wall face daily. the occupation and the Israeli soldiers, a dispute took place among Israeli soldiers and the demonstrators. The Israeli soldiers fired sound bombs and tear gas at the demonstrators, which led to the injury of tens of the demonstrators, after breathing the toxic gas.
In a new protest activity, last Wednesday night the Popular Committee organized a demonstration, with approximately 80 local and international participants, parading alongside the wall, waving Palestinian flags, lighting torches, and chanting slogans against the occupation and night arrests.
In other news, the occupation forces yesterday released Muhamad Abdul Fattah Bernat, after forcing him to pay a fine of 1500 shekels. Mohammed was arrested a week ago in his Bil’in home. Also, occupation forces detained Haitham Khatib, the photographer of the Popular Committee, for several hours before releasing him.