Iyad Burnat to speak on nonviolent protest in Palestine in Columbus Wednesday night

Israel/Palestine
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Iyad Burnat–whose travails trying to get into the U.S. we reported here and later here– will discuss “Nonviolent Resistance in Palestine” this Wednesday night, November 28, in Columbus, Ohio (details below). 

Susannah “Jill” Baker says of Burnat’s US speaking tour, “Iyad Burnat is head of the Bil’in Popular Committee and a leader in the village’s non-violent popular resistance movement. Since 2005, citizens of Bil’in have held weekly demonstrations against the building of the Israeli separation wall through the community’s agricultural lands and the encroachment of illegal settlements. The demonstrators are joined by Israeli and international peace activists, and have maintained a commitment to non-violent methods of resistance in spite of armed, military opposition that has resulted in many injuries and some deaths.

“These demonstrations are the subject of the recent award-winning documentary film 5 Broken Cameras, which was made by Iyad’s brother, Emad Burnat.

“Iyad was born in Bil’in in September of 1973. He is married and has four children. He became involved in popular resistance as a teenager, and was arrested by the Israeli military for the first time at age 17. He was accused of throwing stones, and imprisoned for two years. Since then he has been arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli military several more times.

“During his 2012-2013 American tour, Iyad will tell the stories of Bil’in and life in the occupied West Bank, and talk about strategies for non-violent popular resistance with a goal of peace and prosperity for all people. His presentation will be accompanied by photos and videos.”

All are welcome. The speech will be Wednesday night at 7 PM, the Mennonite Church, 35 Oakland Park Avenue, Columbus. It is hosted by “Central Ohioans for Peace” and the “Progressive Peace Coalition’s Committee for Middle East Peace,” and is free and open to the Public. For more information, please email [email protected]

One Response

  1. Avi_G.
    November 27, 2012, 12:01 am

    link to original.antiwar.com

    Destruction

    Did they tell you the purpose of all this?

    To locate weapons. But we didn’t find any weapons. They confiscated kitchen knives. There was also stealing. One guy took twenty shekels. Guys went into the houses and looked for things to steal. This was a very poor village. The guys were saying, “What a bummer, there’s nothing to steal.”

    That was said in a conversation among the soldiers?

    Yeah. They enjoyed seeing the misery, the guys were happy talking about it. There was a moment someone yelled at the soldiers. They knew he was mentally ill, but one of the soldiers decided that he’d beat him up anyway, so they smashed him. They hit him in the head with the butt of the gun, he was bleeding, then they brought him to the school along with everyone else. There were a pile of arrest orders signed by the battalion commander, ready, with one area left blank. They’d fill in that the person was detained on suspicion of disturbing the peace. They just filled in the name and the reason for arrest. There were people with plastic handcuffs that had been put on really tight. I got to speak with the people there. One of them had been brought into Israel to work for a settler and after two months the guy didn’t pay him and handed him over to the police.

    [...]

    Anything else you remember from that night?

    A small thing, but it bothered me — one house that they just destroyed. They have a dog for weapons searches, but they didn’t bring him; they just wrecked the house. The mother watched from the side and cried. Her kids sat with her and stroked her.

    What do you mean, they just destroyed the house?

    They smashed the floors, turned over sofas, threw plants and pictures, turned over beds, smashed the closets, the tiles. There were other things — the look on the people’s faces when you go into their house. And after all that, they were left tied up and blindfolded in the school for hours. The order came to free them at four in the afternoon. So that was more than twelve hours. There were investigators from the security services there who interrogated them one by one.

    Had there been a terrorist attack in the area?

    No. We didn’t even find any weapons. The brigade commander claimed that the Shin Bet did find some intelligence, that there were a lot of guys there who throw stones.


    Elimination Operation

    It all took about a second and a half. And then they took out the bodies, carried the bodies. We went to a debriefing. I’ll never forget when they brought the bodies out at the base. We were standing two meters away in a semicircle, the bodies were covered in flies, and we had the debriefing. It was, “Great job, a success. Someone shot the wrong car, and we’ll talk about the rest back on the base.” I was in total shock from all the bullets, from the crazy noise. We saw it on the video, it was all documented on video for the debriefing. I saw all the things that I told you, the people running, the minute of gunfire, I don’t know if it’s twenty seconds or a minute, but it was hundreds of bullets and it was clear that the people had been killed, but the gunfire went on and the soldiers were running from the armored truck. What I saw was a bunch of bloodthirsty guys firing an insane amount of bullets, and at the wrong car, too. The video was just awful, and then the unit commander got up. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot from him.

    What do you mean?

    That he’ll be a regional commanding officer or the chief of staff one day. He said, “The operation wasn’t carried out perfectly, but the mission was accomplished, and we got calls from the chief of staff, the defense minister, the prime minister” — everyone was happy, it’s good for the unit, and the operation was like, you know, just: “Great job.” The debriefing was just a cover-up.

    [...]

    But the Shin Bet agents were as happy as kids at a summer camp.

    What does that mean?

    They were high-fiving and hugging. Really pleased with themselves. They didn’t join in the debriefing, it was of no interest to them. But what was the politics of the operation? How come my commanders, not one of them, admitted that the operation had failed?

    Shoot to Kill

    They actually shot people?

    They shot anyone walking around in the street. It always ended with, “We killed six terrorists today.” Whoever you shot in the street is “a terrorist.”

    That’s what they say at the briefings?

    The goal is to kill terrorists.

    What are the rules of engagement?

    Whoever’s walking around at night, shoot to kill.

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