Weekly report 23/06/2010: Popular movements in Palestine

Beit Jala 20/06/2010
Israeli occupation forces on Sunday 20th of June engaged in beatings, burning of fields, and attacking peaceful demonstrators, bystanders, and reporters. Two young Palestinians were injured after severe beatings with hands and clubs (they were both near their homes and not participating in the demonstration). Several demonstrators were also roughed-up. Occupation enforcers also attacked six reporters and prevented them from doing their job of covering the event: Yousef Shahin (Palmedia),AbdelHafith Hashlamon (European News Aghency), Nasser AlShayukhi (associatedPress), Mamon Wazwaz (APA), Musa AlShaer (France Press), and Najeh Hashlamon(ABA). The Israeli occupation forces also aimed their gas canisters at dry fields managing to set a fire that engulfed an olive grove (fortunately, the Palestinian fire department quick response saved most of the field and the nearby homes). The apartheid forces also aimed tear gas at far away homes in Beit Jala to send a message of fear to the local population. And Israeli Occupation ‘intelligence’ Officer Fadi came and then tagged us and as we were trying to leave in my car mocked us and callout my name with his loud speaker.
Video of much of the action at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktDUzjnxapY

Ma’asara 19/06/2010
Some 60 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals marched together in the weekly demonstration against the Wall in Ma’asara. Following a long march through the village streets, demonstrators were surprised NOT to find any soldiers blocking the main road. Proceeding happily towards the village’s agricultural lands, demonstrators were suddenly attacked by two soldiers in two army jeeps which came out of nowhere. Soldiers yelled that the area is declared a closed military zone, and started shoving people back.

Only a higher ranking officer who came after a couple of minutes was willing to listen to the demonstrators’ demands. Much to their surprise, the officer decided to allow the demonstrators to march on. It’s been two
and a half years that the army has been stopping the marches in Ma’asara from reaching the route of the Wall, following a year during which all demonstrations took place there.

And so the march went on, walking by the main road, crossing the route of the planned barrier, and holding a small spontaneous rally with speeches on the Palestinian agricultural lands by the illegal settlement of Efrat.
Speakers mentioned the uniqueness of the event, and mentioned Hassan Bargia, one of the prominent activists in the village who was arrested in last week’s demonstration, and is still held by the army. Following this, demonstrators returned to the village peacefully

Sheikh Jarrah 19/06/2010
Some 350 demonstrators gathered for a festive demonstration against the ongoing home evictions in the neighborhood. The Irish singer Tommy Sundance sang his folk songs, while local drummers chanted slogans to the Samba beat. Meanwhile, an Italian photographer took portrait pictures of demonstrators, and the a group of residents from Dahamash, a village near Ramle in threat of demolition, came to show their support in the struggle, after Sheikh Jarrah people came to their demonstration in the beginning of the week.

After an hour of fun, the demonstration took a serious turn. The masses started marching towards a new house whose residents received an eviction notice. As the house is in the opposite direction from the ones the police is safeguarding, the march went on peacefully, until police realized what was going on and sent the riot unit to stop the march. After a tense stand off, demonstrators found a way around the police blockade through the narrow paths, and made it the house, holding a rally there. After this
success, the demonstration ended peacefully.

Bi’lin 18/06/2010
The participants in the march raised the Palestinian flags and banners condemning the policy of occupation, settlement, and another condemning the attack on the houses of Jerusalem, and calls to halt its campaign of arrest and release of all prisoners and lift the siege on the Gaza Strip. The demonstrators marched in the village, chanting slogans of national unity and calling for the setting aside differences and confirmed the need to uphold the Palestinian constants and the resistance to the occupation and the release of all prisoners, and chanted slogans condemning the aggression and siege on the Gaza Strip.
The protest headed the march towards the wall, where the military force of the Israeli occupation army is to them and behind the concrete blocks behind the wall, after a closed gate in the barrier with barbed wire, and
when the demonstrators tried to cross towards the land behind the wall owned by the people of the town, the army fired sound bombs and bullets coated metal bullets and tear gas at them and chase the protesters and
even the outskirts of the village Three citizens were wounded, and three in solidarity were arrested, and dozens of cases of suffocation as a result of inhalation of tear gas by the clashes in the village of Bil’in, along with peace activists and foreign solidarity after the suppression of the Israeli occupying forces for the weekly march against the wall and settlement.

Nabi Salah 18/06/2010
http://www.bilin-ffj.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=288&Itemid=1
At the protest, there was fiery resistance from the village women when Israeli Occupation Forces arrested a young man on the Orwellian accusation that he didn’t prevent the “shabab” from throwing stones at them from his property, the arrest was fiercely resisted with palpable anger and outrage and even when the soldiers had him cocooned in a jeep prior to being carted off to detention and worse, the vehicle was physically prevented from leaving until brutality, percussion grenades and tear gas forced a
way. However, there is a happy outcome to this story as the IOF released him shortly afterwards to the arms of his joyous wife and villagers.
Throughout the West Bank and further afield, this tiny village of some 540 souls is now a symbol of awe and respect as it spearheads the nonviolent resistance to the Occupation and incredibly, all brutal
attempts to break this butterfly of courage, this Palestinian Stalingrad on the wheel have been in vain. The latest threat to the village is the recent serving of demolition orders on ten houses adjacent to the illegal
“settler” colony of Halamish by the Occupation regime so as to facilitate its cancerous, amoebic spread and eventually do what savage repression can’t; break the resistance through ethnic cleansing.

News from Gaza
Farmers have launched a campaign of popular non-violent resistance since few months.

Weekly Unarmed demonstrations are held in the ‘buffer zone’ (The Israeli military violently enforces a zone of 300 meters to 2 kilometers along Gaza’s lengthy border with Israel, in direct violation of the Oslo Accords of the 1990’s. This zone claims 30% of Gaza’s farmland and some of its most fertile), internationally recognized as Gaza land, to protest the illegal confiscation of farm land which has such grave consequences for Gaza’s struggling population.
Live ammunition is used as a form of ‘crowd dispersal’ against unarmed demonstrators, with deadly consequences. Unarmed demonstrators in the ‘buffer zone’ are intentionally shot with live fire. In April 2010 alone, at least six demonstrators were injured by bullets. This includes Maltese activist Bianca Zammit who was shot in the thigh while filming the demonstration in clear view of soldiers. The following week, 19-year-old Ahmad Dib was shot at a demonstration and bled to death two hours later.

Solidarity Movements around the world
For the first time in US history, a peaceful protest was able to stop workers from unloading an Israeli cargo ship on Sunday, 20 June, in the San Francisco Bay area. From 5:30am until 7pm, social justice activists and labor union organizers blocked and picketed several entrances at the Port of Oakland, preventing two shifts of longshoremen with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) to come to work and unload the Israeli Zim Lines cargo ship.

Approximately 700 protesters and labor organizers launched the action in direct response to the ongoing blockade in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli attacks on humanitarian aid activists aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla last month.

The picket at the Port of Oakland comes on the heels of similar actions around the world in protest of Israeli policies. Dockworkers in Sweden announced on 2 June that no Israeli ships would be unloaded or processed between 15-24 June in protest of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

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