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Friday Post:

July 4, 2009
So this past week has been crazy for Bilín…The Israeli military raided the village almost every night for almost two weeks. They took 8 (at least that was the last number I heard, might be more) teenage boys in the middle of the night. One or two a night.
Most of them I knew from the demonstrations…I assumed they had been arrested/kidnapped because they threw stones at the protests, but it was actually something else.

A friend of mine in Bilín, said that his friend was walking home late at night and a group of boys came running in the village from the fields near the wall. They were all out of breath and went straight to their homes, but his friend found out that they had gone to the fence and tried to cut part of it down in the middle of the night.

Unfortunately, the soldiers heard what was happening and chased them all the way back into the village. They must have gotten a good look at at least the first guy they arrested or taken pictures because soon after the first boy was arrested there were more arrests every night.

Then either he talked ( under duress of course, the Israeli military has no age limit to beating it out of you…) or the military just came in and arrested boys they had seen at the demo to scare the village.

Either way, the last couple fridays have been strange–all of the older boys who threw stones arent there because they dont want to ruin their chances at getting visas to leave in the future by being arrested.

So the boys throwing stones are the next generation, really little. Its very nerveracking…I saw this 10 or 11 year old boy trying to walk to the back of the demo but he had teargas in his eyes and he couldnt see–he had his arms out in front of him trying to find someone to help him.
Ohh…it was so sad and he was so little. I wish they didnt have to grow up with this shit going on. Its not fair…but this world isnt fair either.

Other news this week…Israel approved 50 new housing units in a settlement in exchange (in a deal theyre making unilaterally, without anyone elses input, ha, as usual) for dismantling an illegal outpost.

Ughh..where is the logic? They’re doing what they do best, appearing to follow the rules but at the same time screwing over the Palestinians in a new and different way they think people wont notice.

Anyways, I dont think thats what Obama had in mind when he said to dismantle the outposts and freeze settlement construction. Hopefully Obama will realize soon that hes dealing with a spoiled mischevious child (Israeli government) and just telling them to do something and giving them the benefit of the doubt wont work. Eghh…so frustrating.

The protest in Bilin yesterday was back to usual! haha…The IDF had “embedded” reporters with them the past few weeks so they were actually following the rules, not shooting teargas at people directly, not shooting any bullets until the very end, no sound bombs…

This week, the reporters must have been gone. And since Bilin has been in the news all week for the arrests there were lots of internationals, Israelis, and press there. Almost twice as many as the villagers, it was crazy. Also, ISM was there because they had been sleeping in the village to be an international presence so the IDF wouldnt try anything crazy during the raids.

They were good internationals too, they didnt leave after the first teargas. They actually went all the way to the front and were yelling at the soldiers as sound bombs were exploding all around them. Ha, they were amazing.

They were shouting to the soldiers “Oh you think youre a big man because you have a big stick!”and “Bring your commander here I want to talk to him!”haha no fear at all, they must have been ISM.

Anyways, I was going back and forth between the front and the back…the soldiers shot LOTS of teargas. Tons of it…grenades, shooting canisters, and Al Thuletheen, the cannon, twice. The first time I was far enough back that I just stood there and took pictures, but the humidity was messing up my camera so it wouldnt focus, ughhh…and all the people were running towards me with a huge cloud of teargas behind them, it would have been an amazing picture!

The next time I was not so lucky. They shot it long range, somehow, I was towards the back, and not near my little wall that I usually crouch next to and feel somewhat safe when Im there. I was on the other side of the road.

So I stood there watching the ‘trajectories’ haha, trying to decide what to do. As they finished their arc into the air and started dropping I realized I was screwed and there was no way I was going to avoid being right where they were all dropping.

So, like I always tell people never to do, I ran like a crazy person, hahaha…I put my bag over my head so I wouldnt get knocked out -or worse…ha…and was just running in a crazy path like I could avoid the canisters. I could hear them coming at me, the teargas cloud was catching up with me, and they started falling all around me.

THANK GOD! BY some miracle I (and no one else, its really baffling how I havent seen anyone get hit by the cannon teargas canisters, ever…) didnt get hit by the canisters and made it out in time to not get choked by the gas.

It was scary though. I still have some anxiety left over from when I got shot out of no where by the teargas grenade…so after I got down to the waaay back of the demo my hands were shaking.

After the second Al Thuletheen…the demo started winding down. The boys had moved to the side fence so we were getting shot at with teargas from two directions now instead of just the front fence.

Sooo…the organizers of the protest told us it was over and we all went back to the village. Went to my friends house and flew kites, relaxed in the sun and had another amazing lunch from his mom.

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