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Bil'in, 2 September 2005: New peaks of IOF brutality and lies.

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Haaretz editorial, 6 September 2005: Does the IOF wish to suppress the demonstrations in Bil'in in order to trigger the third intifada?

Haaretz editorial, 6 September 2005 (English).

Haaretz, 6 September 2005: Will the supreme court act, for once?

IOF officer to a reporter: "Our aim is to get rid of the Israelis and the Internationals. Concerning the Palestinians we have much more liberal rules of engagement of fire".

Breaking News: Bil'in villagers told to halt all future demonstrations
 
Saturday, September 3, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE...

ISM MEDIA GROUP - The Israeli military told a leader of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall that the village was to cease all forms of public protests against the occupation, settlement expansion and the illegal annexation barrier under construction nearby. Villagers also were told that international and Israeli activists should not be allowed in the area. There seems to be no legal standing behind the demand, which was issued amid a military invasion of the village aimed at stopping a peaceful demonstration before it began.

During the incursion, in which numerous witnesses reported seeing soldiers firing live ammunition in the direction of unarmed civilians, soldiers detained Mohammed Al Khateb, a local coordinator for anti-occupation demonstrations in Bil'in.

"The commander had come to me and said 'I don't want to see another protest in this village," Al Khateb said. "I told him, 'you have the power of the occupation, but we'll continue demonstrating even even if we're forced to do them in our own homes. We'll keep going,' "

Later, the same commander augmented his demand, Al Khateb said, telling him that he didn't want to Israelis or international activists in Bil'in. "He said if we want to demonstrate, we must do it alone," Al Khateb said.

The military commander's demand for Israelis and foreign peace activists to stay away also is telling. It indicates that the brutality that soldiers would prefer to use against Palestinians is lessened by an international presence. To this end, ISM will continue to offer its support to any Palestinians who suffer under the occupation, including the people of Bil'in.

"We face them with backpacks, sandals and signs," ISM activist Great Berlin was quoted as saying in the New York Times on Friday from Bil'in. "They face us in full riot gear."

CONTACT: For more information, contact ISM at 297-1824 or 054-758-5890. In Bil'in, contact Mohammed Al Khateb at 0545-851-893.

 

The two Israeli Bil'in detainees were released on Saturday evening, after serving some 28 hours in prison.
 
Comic relief: One of the detainees described the verbal exchange that led to his detention (falsely accused of having slapped a soldier in his face):
Soldier (after throwing a stun granade near the deteinee): "Scared, are you?"
Detainee: "Brave, are you?". 
It was obvious the judge barely contained his disgust with the outright lies comprising the charges presented against the detainees.
I would like every tax paying Israeli to consider the kind of civil society we ought to expect in the very near future, made of army veterans who had been trained to be brutal to peaceful civilian demonstrators and to fabricate lies that are presented to the courts.

Some mass media reports:

Indymedia Israel: Here you can find the name and military id number of the officer directly in charge of the IOF violence in Bil'in, [Regiment commander Eyal Levi, 5024335, Macabim brigade].

Haaretz, 3 September (Hebrew): THE IOF admits - live ammunition was shot in Bil'in on September 2.

Ynet: Confrontation near the mosque

Haaretz (Hebrew):The IOF threw granades before the demonstration even started

"Activists protesting against the construction of the West Bank separation barrier in the village of Bil'in on Friday afternoon said Israel Defense Forces soldiers threw stun and tear gas grenades at them before they even started to demonstrate.

The IDF denied the activists' allegations."
 
I was there, next to the mosque, well ahead of the scheduled beginning of the demonstration. The occupation army was there, behaving most brutally. They used a massive amount of stun granades and tear gas rounds at a peaceful crowd.
Let me say it outright: THE IOF, DENYING THESE FACTS, IS LYING, MOST BLATANTLY.
They are welcome to sue me for defamation. 

"The activists said large numbers of soldiers entered the village an hour before the planned protest and began throwing the stun and tear gas grenades once Muslim prayers were completed.

 

Yonatan Polak, head of the "Anarchists Against the Fence" movement, said: "I saw two tear gas grenades and one stun grenade fired into the mosque itself. A large force of soldiers entered the village very suddenly. There was no stone-throwing on the part of the protesters until the soldiers started to make use of riot dispersion weapons."

The activists also claimed they found evidence soldiers opened fire with live ammunition."
This is worth paying attention to: Does the IOF send us a message "Next time, the live ammunition will be aimed at the demonstrators, not in the air" (?)

"Following the incident, the planned protest began. Four activists were wounded and six were arrested during the demonstration. Soldiers subsequently placed a curfew on the village.

Protests in Bil'in against the fence have been held every week for the past number of months. In the past, clashes between protesters and security forces took place outside the village's residential area, at the fence worksite itself."

This last phrase needs a correction: For the last several months the demonstration was allowed to organize within the village, but was blocked just outside the residential area, several hundred meters away from the construction site of the APARTHEID wall.

Haaretz (English): Activists say IDF troops threw stun grenades at them unprovoked

Maariv: Soldier lightly wounded.

Walla: The IOF threw smoke granades into the mosque

The Jerusalem Post (English): "Fence protestors lightly wound soldier"

Well, well ... who said that the title has to reflect the content, in a newspaper article.

The IOF blocked the roads leading to Bil'in. We scaled the slopes.

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Some of us, at seventy, showed inspiring determination.

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Getting at the outskirts of Bil'in

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Trying to reach the staging ground of the demonstration, near the mosque, in spite of the IOF presence in the village:

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Confused, freightened officer, shouting "orders":

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Detainees being pushed into IOF vehicle, outside the mosque:

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Attempting to demonstrate, in spite of the IOF brutality:

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Tear gas granade, exploding:

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The message:

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Conclusion
 
Today was a very unique day in Bil'in. The weekly peaceful demonstration against the apartheid wall (that cuts out, for the purpose of enlarging the Jewish settlement of Modiin Ilit, about 55% of the village lands) has been taking place in
Bil'in every Friday, for the last several months. It was always dispersed, brutally, by the IOF, as soon as it reached the boundary of the residential area of the village. However, today, for the first time, the army entered the village and tried to stop the demonstration before it even got started. They used an immense number of tear gas rounds, stun granades, rubber bullets, and there were even indications that live ammunition was used (empty cartridges were collected in the center of the village, near the mosque). Perhaps the most dramatic act of violence of the army was when they trew stun granades and tear gas into the packed mosque.

There was another new record: The level of deceit. Member of Knesset Ms. Zehava Gal'on (Meretz) called the deputy minister of defence, Mr. Zeev Boim, to complain about the unprecedented extent of the violence the army applied. He called her back two hours later and told her the brigade commander on the ground informed him that today they did not use even crowd dispersal means. Such a gross and blatant lie should (in a democracy) result in the termination of the contract of the brigade commander and the resignation of the deputy minister of defence.

At the end of the day two peaceful demonstrators were kept in detention
until Saturday night, when a judge hopefully rules their release. They were blamed with imagined acts of violence that only took place in the brain of some IOF officer, in spite of the fact that video footage clearly proved that they had been aggressively assaulted by the soldiers while peacefully standing among other  demonstrators.
The aim of the IOF is clear: They wish to harass us, discourage us, scare us. THEY WILL FAIL.
One day, soon, the APARTHEID WALL will be demolished. So will be Modi'in Ilit, whose planned expansion is the reason for the construction of the apartheid wall through the village of Bil'in. So will also Giv'at Zeev, to whose police station the detainees were taken. So will Beit-El, in whose jail they spent the weekend. The illegal settlers will screem. They will pour sodium hydroxide on the soldiers and policemen. They will destroy army vehicles. They will assassinate some more Palestinians. They will be carefully delivered by weeping soldiers into the buses, and provided with four star hotel accomodations until they get their new villas somewhere around Tel Aviv. They will each get $400,000 in compensation for the crimes they will be terminated from conducting.
Crime, in Israel, pays.

One of our Palestinian hosts, addressing the Israelis and Internationals upon our departure: "You are not only protecting Palestinian rights. You are protecting human dignity and justice".

Followup
 
Jonathan Pollak  wrote:
 
English follows

ביום שישי האחרון החליט הצבא לנסות ולשים סוף להפגנות בבילעין. בצעד יוצא דופן פלש כוח של כ-100 חיילים אל הכפר והשתלט עליו כשעה לפני תחילתה המתוכננת של ההפגנה. חיילים השתלטו על גגות, פטרלו בכבישי הכפר, והתמקמו בסמוך למסגד, ממנו יוצאות ההפגנות, בזמן התפילה עצמה.

עם סיומה של התפילה, החל הצבא לפזר באלימות את היוצאים מהמסגד, תוך שימוש בירי רימוני הלם וגז. זאת כאמור קודם לתחילת ההפגנה ומבלי שנזרקה אפילו אבן אחת. עוצר הוכרז ואחד המפקדים בשטח אף הודיע כי "יותר לא יהיו הפגנות בבילעין".

המשך היום היה קשה ביותר, ואלימות הצבא הידרדרה בשני מקרים לפחות עד כדי ירי חי. לאחר זמן מה בו ניסה הצבא להשליט את מרותו בתוככי הכפר, ולמרות האלימות הרבה, הצליחה קבוצה, מחציתה פלסטינים  ומחציתה פעילים ישראלים ובינלאומיים, להתאסף יחד ולצאת להפגנה בכיוון תוואי הגדר. הצעדה נעצרה, מעט לפני הבית האחרון בכפר, בירי מאסיבי של כדורי גומי, גז מדמיע ורימוני הלם. סיכומו של יום הותיר 12 פצועים ו-14 עצורים. 12 מן העצורים שוחררו לאחר מספר שעות ובלא תנאים מגבילים; השניים הנותרים הושארו במעצר ושוחררו ע"י שופט רק למחרת (שבת) בערב תחת התחייבות שלא להיכנס לשטחים הכבושים למשך שישה ימים.

הכפר בילעין הולך ותופס מקום של כבוד בפנתיאון המאבק הפלסטיני, וכסמל למדוכאים בכל העולם, בשל התנגדותו לגדר ההפרדה. אך מאבקו מסמל הרבה יותר מכך. הוא חושף את מטרת גדר ההפרדה- סיפוח ונישול. תוואי הגדר באזור זה מוכיח כי הכוונה העומדת מאחוריו היא הרחבת התנחלויות מודיעין עילית ומתיתיהו על חשבון האדמות הגזולות של הכפר בילעין, והכפרים הסמוכים לו.

אנו, פלסטינים וישראלים, רואים את הצעד שנקט הצבא כהסלמה חמורה וכהידרדרות נוספת בזכותנו, הפגועה ממילא, למחאה ולהתנגדות. החלטנו לקיים הפגנה משותפת נוספת וגדולה מהרגיל ביום שישי הקרוב (9.9), ואנו קוראים למאמץ מיוחד בכדי להעביר את המסר שאת ההתנגדות העממית לגדר, להתנחלויות, ולכיבוש אסור לחנוק, ושאת המחאה כנגד פשעי הכיבוש לא ניתן להשתיק.

דווקא עתה, כאשר הצבא מונע בכוח את זכות המחאה, בואו, גם את וגם אתה, להפגין ולמחות על העוול והגזל, על שלילת החיים והזכויות האנושיות הבסיסיות של העם הפלסטיני בכלל ותושבי בילעין בפרט.

ההפגנה תצא מהמסגד בבילעין בשעה 13:00. פרטים לגבי תחבורה יימסרו בהמשך

הוועדות העממיות נגד הגדר וההתנחלויות, גוש שלום, תעאיוש, קואליציית נשים לשלום, הוועד נגד הריסת בתים, אנרכיסטים נגד גדרות

 
Last Friday, as many of you know, the army tried to crack down on the resistance at Bil’in by brute force. One hour before the beginning of the weekly demonstration, a squad of roughly 100 soldiers invaded the village and proceeded to take over. In an unprecedented move, snipers set up posts on rooftops, jeeps and hummers patrolled the streets as a large group of soldiers positioned themselves outside of the mosque, where the demonstration was scheduled to begin. 

Once the prayer was over, the people leaving the mosque were violently dispersed, without even one stone having been thrown. A curfew was imposed immediately, and one of the commanders went on to announce that "there will be no more demonstrations in Bil’in".

The intense violence of the military resulted in the use of live fire against protestors in at least two cases. Some time into this, and despite the use of excessive violence against us, a group of Palestinians, internationals and Israelis managed to regroup and proceed together towards the construction site. The procession was halted as it reached the last home in the village by a massive bombardment of rubber bullets, tear gas and concussion grenades. By the end of the day 12 people were wounded and 14 arrested. 12 of the arrested people were released hours later, with no restraining orders; two others remained in custody and were released by the judge the next day (Saturday) on condition that they not enter the occupied territories for six days.

The village of Bil’in rises as a proud symbol of resistance for the people of Palestine and for all oppressed people worldwide, for its resistance to the wall. But its struggle symbolizes much more. It reveals the purpose of the wall – annexation and dispossession. The trajectory in the area proves that the purpose behind it is the expansion of Modi’in Elit and Matityahu settlements, at the expense of the area’s villages’ stolen lands.

 We, Palestinians and Israelis, view the recent measures taken by the military as a substantial escalation in violent repression and as an additional infringement on our progressively eroding right to protest and resist the stealing of our lands and the denial of basic human rights. We will be holding a massive demonstration this coming Friday (Sept 9), and we call on you all to step up your efforts, spread the word widely, and join us in Bil’in as we deliver our message that the popular resistance to the wall and the occupation will not be crushed, that the protest against the crimes of occupation will not be silenced. Especially now, as the military is denying, through brute force, our right to protest, we urge you all to come out and raise your voice against the ongoing dispossession and violation of the basic human rights of the people of Bil’in and Palestine in general.

The demonstration will begin at the Mosque in Bil’in at 13:00. Transportation details to follow shortly.

The Popular Committees against the Wall and Settlement Expansion,
Gush Shalom, Taayush, Coalition of Women for Peace,
The Committee against House Demolitions,
Anarchists against the Wall

 

Today was a very unique day in Bil'in. First of all, this was the first
time, after many months that the weekly peaceful demonstration against the
apartheid wall (that cuts out, for the purpose of enlarging the Jewish
settlement of Modiin Ilit, about 55% of the village lands) takes place in
Bil'in every Friday, that the army entered the village and tried to stop
the demonstration even before it even started. They used a lot of tear
gas, stun granades, rubber bullets, and there ware even indications that
live ammunition may have been used (empty catridges were collected in the
center of the village, near the mosque). Perhaps the most dramatic act of
violence of the army was when they trew stun granades and tear gas into
the packed mosque.

There was another new record: The level of deceit. Member of Knesset
Ms. Zehava Gal'on (Meretz) called the deputy minister of defence, Mr. Zeev
Boim, to complain about the unprecedented extent of the violence the army
applied. He called her back two hours later and told her the brigade
commander on the ground informed him that today they did not use even
crowd dispersal means. Such a gross and blatant lie should (in a
democracy) result in the termination of the contract of the brigade
commander and the resignation of the deputy minister of defence.

At the end of the day two peaceful demonstrators were kept in detention
until Saturday night, when a judge hopefully rules about their release.
They were blamed with imagined acts of violence in spite of the fact that
video footage clearly proved that they had been aggressively assaulted by
the soldiers while peacefully standing in the demonstration.

Today was a very unique day in Bil'in. The peaceful demonstrations against the APARTHEID wall  (that cuts out, for the purpose of enlarging the illegal Jewish settlement of Modiin Ilit, about 55% of the village lands) have been taking place in Bil'in every Friday, for the last several months. Today was the first time that the army entered the village and tried to stop the demonstration even before it even started. They used a lot of tear gas, stun granades, rubber bullets, and there were even indications that live ammunition may have been used (empty catridges were collected in the center of the village, near the mosque). Perhaps the most dramatic act of violence of the army was when they trew stun granades and tear gas into the packed mosque.

There was another new record: The level of deceit. Member of Knesset
Ms. Zehava Gal'on (Meretz) called the deputy minister of defence, Mr. Zeev Boim, to complain about the unprecedented extent of the violence the army applied. He called her back two hours later and told her the brigade commander on the ground informed him that today they did not use even crowd dispersal means. Such a gross and blatant lie should (in a democracy) result in the termination of the contract of the brigade
commander and the resignation of the deputy minister of defence.

At the end of the day two peaceful demonstrators were kept in detention
until Saturday night, when a judge hopefully rules their release.
They were blamed with imagined acts of violence in spite of the fact that
video footage clearly proved that they had been aggressively assaulted by the soldiers while peacefully standing among other demonstrators. They had been picked totally arbitrarily. We understand the aim of the IOF. They wish to harass us, to scare us, to demoralize us.

Let the IOF know: They will fail. Some day, soon, the APARTHEID wall be demolished. Modi'in Ilit will be demolished. Giva'at Zeev, where the detainees were taken to, will be demolished, too. So will be Beit-El, in whose jail they spent the night and the following day. The illegal settlers will cry and pour sodium hydroxide on the soldiers, who will carefully carry them out. And they will each get some $400,000. Crime, in Israel, pays.