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Week of international solidarity actions in the West Bank is one sign ‘things are coming to a head’

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Ahmed Moor sent the following report from the West Bank:

It’s hard to describe the atmosphere here today. Traveling back and forth between the West Bank and Israel I get the sense that things are coming apart, or coming to a head. There’s a kinetic feeling all around when I’m outside downtown Ramallah (indeed, downtown Ramallah is the only place I don’t feel it). 

After reading the news yesterday morning I jumped on a bus from Ramallah to Jerusalem to cover what was happening in Silwan. The bus was stopped at the Qalandia “checkpoint” – really a massive racial filtration terminal – because of a protest organized by a group of internationals (mostly French people). I participated for about forty-five minutes before I looped back and around to Jerusalem. Before I went I got some video of the first scuffles (the ghetto walls in the video above are a part of the “checkpoint”). Nine activists were later arrested by the occupation forces. These kinds of confrontations are happening everywhere.

Outside Ramallah, Palestinian resistance is strong, tenacious and determined. The youth of Silwan, Nabi Salih and Hebron are fearless and brazen in the face of an angry, half-hearted occupation force. I get the sense (after arguing with soldiers in Hebron) that many of the soldier-boys who’ve surrendered themselves to Eichmannesque rationalizations (“We’re following orders”) lack both ideology and morality; they’re hollow people. The others – like one of the soldier-boys in Hebron – are filled with race-pride and rage, eager to kill to “defend” the Jews – those are their words, not mine. All of the soldier-boys believed that they’d been profoundly wronged somehow. 

Frankly, I’m worried. Israel is undeniably a fascist state today. It’s not on the road to fascism; we’re here. After attending the Bat Yam rally, seeing the racism and hatred everywhere in Israel firsthand, and aggressively interrogating the views of the fascist kids in uniform, I’m worried about what the occupation will do to the Palestinians. I wonder how far they’re willing to take this and I’m filled with foreboding. 

The protest at Qalandia was part of a week of “International Solidarity Actions with the Palestinian People of Jerusalem.” Hamde Abu Rahme sent the following summary of some of the actions:

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In Bil’in about 100 hundred people, including citizens of Bil’in, International activists from the French group ‘Euro Palestine’, members of the Popular Committees of Bil’in and Ni’in, the Popular Resistance Movement of An Nabi Saleh, as well as representatives from the Office of International Relations of the Fatah Movement – Mr. Jamil Barghouti and Mohammad Shannan, participated in the planting of Olive trees on land targeted by Israel for Wall and settlement expansion. The event was organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall and the village of Bil’in.

At 3:30 pm participants carried olive trees and farming tools in a massive march toward village land that is still threatened to be confiscated . The demonstrators planted olive trees in spite of the strong presence of the Israeli military. When people tried to plant trees close to the wall, Israeli soldiers opened fire and shot dozens of tear gas canisters in the midst of the demonstrators. This led to a violent army confrontation against the demonstrators. Tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets were used in order to intimidate the demonstrators. Several people who suffered from the effects of inhaling tear gas had to be treated in the field.

Sunday 26/12/2010

International Solidarity Week with the Palestinian People of Jerusalem:

Political Gathering Held in Bil’in

The Popular Committee Against the Wall organized a political gathering this evening in the local Council’s Hall in Bil’in village. Many foreign solidarity activists attended the meeting, especially from the group ‘Euro Palestine’, as well as members from several West Bank Popular Committees.

Maher Ghoneim, the Popular Commitees’ Minister against the Wall and Settlements, and Dr. Hossam Zomlot, representative of the Office of International Relations of the Fatah movement, spoke about the current situation and welcomed the international solidarity.

They talked about the sacrifices and suffering of Palestinian people in their struggle against the occupation, and about the resistance against it by the popular struggle of Bil’in.

In his speech Maher Ghoneim called out to Internationals and Palestinians to join the popular struggle and support the steadfast resistance of the people struggling on a daily basis against the many injustices of life under Israeli occupation. The reality of the life for Palestinian citizens in occupied Jerusalem was illustrated in a power point photo presentation.

Sunday 26/12/2010

International Solidarity Week with the Palestinian People of Jerusalem:

Demonstration Near Qalandiya Checkpoint

The Popular Committee of Qalandiya along with the support of the greater Popular Committee Against the Wall, held a large demonstration near the Qalandiya Checkpoint today. The checkpoint is the main entrance to the city of Jerusalem. It is used everyday by hundreds if not thousands of West Bank Palestinian residents en route to school, work, medical facilities, and family who live in Jerusalem.

The demonstration started at 9:30am and was attended by about 100 Palestinians and international supporters. The demonstrators marched toward the main gate, and then gained access into the area within the checkpoint that is used for inspection of people traveling to and from Jerusalem. There they were confronted by the Israeli Military, which tried to prevent them from entering. This led to violent clashes and finally resulted in the arrest of Al Mahmoud, a reporter from Al-Quds Newspaper, and nine international solidarity activists. Demonstrators sat down in front of the gate, which was closed by the army. Soldiers used tear gas in order to dissolve the demonstration.

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