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Friday Post:

July 11, 2009

First of all, Fox News was at BIlin this Friday, CRAZY–here is a link to their report, its ALMOST pro-palestinian…except they get some things wrong about the wall and its purpose (“security”–Israel’s excuse for EVERYTHING bad it does…)

http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=231434305382&h=PedX-&u=7s79h&ref=mf

This week was the fifth anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s ruling that the Wall is illegal and must be dismantled, obviously Israel hasnt done anything to remove it –on the contrary, they have kept building it…here is an article I wrote about it on Palestine Monitor:

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Teargas

Teargas

the demonstrators

the demonstrators

 

 

Five years have passed since the International Court of Justice’s ruling that the Apartheid Wall that Israel is constructing inside the West Bank is illegal. However, Israel has continued construction of the wall and it has become a symbol of Israel’s disrespect for international law and also of the failure of the international community to uphold this ruling.

The ruling was clear and unambiguous—it stated that the wall’s construction is illegal, that Israel must stop construction immediately, it must dismantle the sections already built, return confiscated properties, and compensate those Palestinians directly affected by the wall.

Since that ruling, however, there has been no action taken by Israel or the international community to stop the 724 km planned route of the wall. Investment and aid continues to pour into Israel by certain states despite the fact that the ruling also stipulates that all states are under obligation not to recognize the illegal circumstances created by the wall—nor should they give aid or assistance to Israel for maintaining the occupation and the construction of the wall.

The wall’s route is illegal because it is not built on the internationally agreed upon border between Israel and the West Bank from 1967—called the Green Line. Instead, the wall snakes around inside Palestinian territory, dividing districts and in some cases completely surrounding Palestinian villages.

Many villages have lost land to the wall, and the economic effects of the wall can be seen throughout the West Bank. It is in some of these villages that the only real resistance to the wall exists. Villages such as Bilín and Ni’lin have organized grassroots, nonviolent protests against the wall that take place every Friday.

Bilín, which lost over 60% of its land to the wall for illegal settlement construction, has already taken its case before the Israeli Supreme Court. The court agreed that the path of the wall through Bilín was illegal and ordered the government to move it back. No action has been taken by the Israeli government so far—and Bilín continues to protest the theft of their lands.

The only way that the Israeli government will abide by international law is if they are forced. In five years they have done nothing but extend the wall further into the West Bank and steal more Palestinian land.

There must be an international movement to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel in order to stop the Israeli regime of occupation, colonialism, and apartheid.

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FRIDAY REPORT:

This week was the 5th anniversary of the International Court of Justices ruling that the separation wall is illegal and must be dismantled.  Of course, nothing has been enforced and the wall has just continued.

Some of the villages in the West Bank are completely surrounded by the wall, like Qalqilia.  It has one checkpoint that allows people/goods in and out.  Obviously controlled by the ISraelis.  So the economy in Qalqilia has gotten really bad because of the lack of freedom of movement. 

Qalqilia is surrounded by settlements, and I have driven around in that area before with a friend.  He was doing a mapping project so we would drive on the main roads and to all the villages with a GPS in order to make a complete map of the West Bank with all of the village roads. 

While driving in that area around Qalqilia, we went to Azzun and the small villages around it and most of the entrance roads to them were blocked off with earth mounds, boulders, or concrete blocks.  So people would have to leave their cars and climb over these things just to get into their own village.  We counted all of the road blocks (anything but checkpoints that prevents people from moving freely around the WEst Bank) and there were around 20 in that area around Azzun –and those were just the ones that we drove past. 

The Israeli government wants that area of the WEst Bank–either because it has some kind of natural resource or its good agricultural land…, so thats why they have surrounded Qalqilia and almost surrounded others near it.  And set up dozens of road blocks to make life difficult for the people so they just get fed up and leave.

Anyways, the wall affects so many Palestinians negatively, and Qalqilia is just one example of that.

Bilin this week was pretty crazy.  The IDF has been invading Bilin almost every night for three weeks now, since I started telling you about it.  They have arrested many boys for going to the demonstrations, most of them in their mid-teens.  Some as young as 11 or 12.

My friend told me that there are now 150 ‘wanted’ people in Bilin now, and that the night raids by the IDF will probably be going on for a long time because of that.

As we were watching the demonstrators march past us on Friday, he was pointing out some of the ‘wanted’ people.  They were SMALL boys…like 11 or 12 years old.  Most of the older boys have either laid low and dont go to the demos anymore or have been arrested.  So the boys who throw stones at the demo now are the next generation–they’re much younger and much less cautious.  Its really scary to see them at the demo because they take a lot more chances…

Yesterda was very hot…we marched to the fence ahead of the group because I was there with three friends from the PA and that week Mustafa Barghouthi, the leader of Mubadara/Palestinian National Initiative political party (and my “boss”, ha) was there to make it a mubadara demonstration.

So since my friends are strictly Fateh and reaaaally dont like the way Mustafa takes advantage of press opportunities for his own promotion…we went ahead of the group.

Aaanyways, when the demonstration got to the wall, everyone went to the front, except for me and my friends who stayed back a little bit to see how aggressive the IDF would be that day…we started to smell something verrrrrrry disgusting.

I looked to the front of the demo and the Israelis were shooting a water cannon.  I had heard about this before, that they did it last summer at the demos and what they were shooting was sewage water.

So everyone ran back to where we were, and they SMELLED so bad! people were puking because it was so disgusting.  I found out later that this isnt JUST sewage water.  Its a special Israeli invention: a mix of cow intestines, sewage, and different chemicals to make it the foulest smelling concoction they could come up with.

Well, it was effective, you could smell people from like half a mile away and it made you sicker than teargas.

Then…they shot the teargas cannon, al thuletheen…everybody ran to escape the smoke and falling canisters.  I ran to get out of the path of the canisters then stopped to take pictures of people running in the smoke. 

Soon…I was in the smoke and since it was like a stampede people were knocking into me tryingto get out of the cloud of smoke.  But running when you cant see is not a good idea.  Especially when the IDF around the side fence are shooting at the people running away from the front fence. 

I saw them shooting canisters at the road as people were trying to escape…and then I couldnt see anything, ha. This type of teargas they used yesterday really targeted my eyes for some reason.  I couldnt open them for like 5 minutes. 

And since running into the path of teargas canisters when blind is not a smart idea I went off to the side of the road in the fields and waited it out. 

After I could see again, about half of the crowd came back up to the fence, and they shot more teargas canisters and sound bombs at them.  Then the Bilin committee that organizes the protests decided to end the protest.  And we headed back to the village.

On the way back I saw FOX NEWS there!  I was shocked!  And I looked for the story today and found they made a video and it was actually pretty pro-palestinian!  I thought they would just take pictures of the boys throwing stones and say “Oh look at the poor IDF getting attacked by crazy Palestinians”

But they did a good job I thought, besides a couple things–such as saying the Wall was built to prevent suicide attacks and that it is the reason there havent been anymore.

Actually, the wall is not for security, and everyone in Israel and Palestine knows.  Its to grab as much land from the West Bank as they can before a two-state solution is finally agreed on.  The wall is not on the internaitonallly agreed upon Green Line– the border from 1967.  It snakes around inside the West Bank taking the best land and resources, cutting villages in half and surrounding others.

And another reason I know its purpose is not security is because their security at checkpoints sucks!  Half the time they dont check the IDs….and at Qalandia checkpoint- the main one to get to Jerusalem from Ramallah, I have watched the soldiers working as the “security” as I waited in line to go through. 

Theyre sitting in this room, beside the area where we go through a turnstile, then put our stuff through an xray machine, we walk through a metal detector and then show our ID/passport to a bored soldier on the other side.  There are usually 3 soldiers sitting in that room and we can see them through the window partitions.  One is usually doing her nails, staring off into space, or text messaging her boyfriend.  Another–the one who is supposed to be watching the x-ray machine “for bombs” is facing away from the screen and playing a game on his cell phone, while the third–who is in charge of checking IDs, is screaming shrilly at every person who comes through the turnstile for no reason at all.

THe wall is not for security–its for control and to steal more land.

Anyways…as Mustafa Barghouthi told the press after the demo, the wall will not be taken down by Israel unless they are forced to take it down.  We need an international movement of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.

My roommate, a photographer , just finished a camp with Palestinian children that took them around to old Arab villages in Israel.  THe kids had never been out of the West Bank before so it was an amazing experience for them.  They said for the first time they didnt feel like they were in a jail.   Each village the group went to was at least one child’s grandparents original village.  And they got to see these villages and their families’ old houses that they had heard about all of their life but never seen.  It was a very important and emotional experience for them.

An old roommate of mine came back for a month starting yesterday, Shes going to be working at the Freedom Theater, a theater in Jenin. 

Its run by a guy who is half Arab and half Jewish.  Hes an amazing guy.  Its been burned down by the Israelis a couple times…so Frida will be working for them in fundraising for a few weeks, then she will go back to sweden and save money and keep working for the Freedom theater as well, then come back after a few more months.

We were supposed to get a new intern at Palestine Monitor this week but she got denied at the Taba (by Egypt) border “for security reasons”.  Her parents are Saudi but she has lived in the UK her whole life and has a British passport.  So basically it was racism just like my friend Dan.

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