Weekly Post: What happened in the West Bank this week…

August 16, 2009


Thursday night we were having a BBQ at the new appt with some friends and we saw something strange out the window.  Lots of traffic on a main road that goes to Jalazone Refugee camp…aparently the Israelis set up a checkpoint for an hour or so there…backed up a lot of cars.  So we asked our friend in the PA to see what was going on.  He radioed his colleagues and found out that they thought an Israeli soldier was kidnapped that night somewhere near Ramallah.

Anyways, I found out later that there wasnt actually a kidnapping that night, aparently an israeli captain or some high rank lost his ID and thought it was stolen, then someone found the ID and thought the guy was kidnapped because his ID wasnt with him.  Basically, both sides thought something happened, but it was actually nothing.  So they set up the checkpoint so that if there was some soldier kidnapped they would find him before he became Shalit 2.  And the Israeli military aparently blocked all of the exits out of Ramallah and I think they did the same in every big city in the West Bank and set up checkpoints all over the place.  Ha, all for nothing.

A friend from college in Seattle came over for a couple days to see Ramallah–he is living in Haifa and thinking about studying arabic and hebrew at the unversity there. So I took him to the protest in Bil’in, and of course it was the most uneventful protest ever.  There were 200 Israelis there and about the same amount of french and italians.  And about 10 people from the village.  It was very strange. 

So the IDF barely shot anything at us–just a few scattered teargas canisters here and there.  They shot the teargas cannon but luckily aimed into the field instead of the crowd- dont know if that was intentional or not.  But it still scared the shit out of all the first-timers.  They stampeded down the hill hahaha–I got a good video of it hahaha.

Anyways…so that side of the protest was very calm.  But there was another side protest over along the other side of the fields with all the young boys from the village throwing stones.  I saw one boy who must have been less than 10 years old–and the rest werent much older.  The problem is the Israelis have arrested all the 18-25 year old boys who threw stones before, and kept the little boys out of the protest.  So now they have taken over and theres no one to stop them. 

I just hope the Israelis keep shooting teargas and dont start shooting bullets at them.

So my friend got to see a little taste of the protest–he didnt get teargassed too bad but he got a little bit of it and he definately smelled the sewage water they sprayed on the front of the protest. 

Then he walked up to the one person throwing stones at our side of the protest and told him to stop. Ha. Then another Israeli girl came up to him and told him that was patronizing and what would he do if he was in that position.    His opinion was that this was a nonviolent protest except for that guy and that guy throwing stones was going to make the IDF shoot at us–and it would all be his fault–which is rational from his point of view, except for the fact that it doesnt matter whether anyone is throwing stones or not, they will shoot at us anyways.  It was the 200 Israelis there that day that stopped the normal IDF response. 

The Fateh conference and elections are over…the main people who were elected are new guys….so that’s good.  Marwan Barghouthi got the third highest votes–and hes thought of by most palestinians as the next yasser arafat, the guy who could unite palestine.  Unfortunately hes serving 5 life sentences in an Israeli prison right not–and I dont see them letting him out to be a leader.  Hmm…

The other big thing of the elections was the fact that they voted to keep the right to resistance in their manifesto.  Israel took that as a threat of the third intifada, but in reality its not their main goal, armed resistance.  Their first route is peaceful negotiations.  After that, if Israel doesnt keep its promises (which, if the past is any example, they wont) thennnnn…they can have the right to armed resistance–as is the right of anyone under occupation.

So who knows what will happen now.

Unfortunately, Obama is occupied in the states with these healthcare reforms…according to my parents its causing a major split between political factions.  Anyways, he doesnt have time to keep an eye on Israel and their settlement activities so they have been building more outposts, continuing construction on settlements, and evicting more families from E. Jerusalem so that settlers can move in.  Its a big problem–as if Palestinians didnt know before that Israel doesnt want peace–its becoming to obvious to ignore.

I think all it would take at this point is a spark for something to happen–but then again my friends tell me there wont be an intifada until there is a stronger leader than Abbas.  And not until Gaza and the West Bank take the decision together for another intifada–so that sounds like the 12th of never.  So it looks like an organized intifada wont happen, but you never know when the people will decide enough is enough.

That would be worse case scenario because they wouldnt not be controlled and it wouldnt be a nonviolent intifada–the way most people are talking about wanting it to go is a nonviolent intifada, controled closely by the leaders so that when Israel responds violently, the Palestinians wont start violence back–because they know that killed their reputation in the world in the last intifada.  No bombings inside Israel, no targeting Israelis in Israel.  But focused only on the settlements.  I can’t see it ending well for the palestinians no matter how it goes though–so I hope Israel starts negotiating and keeping its promises!

Anyways, thats pretty much it for this week…


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