June 12 2002 marked the first day building the wall but it took the International Court of Justice another two years before they "legally" recognized the Wall as a violation of human rights, disrupting every aspect of Palestinian life such as separating farmers from their lands, families from each other, children from their schools, stores from their customers-in short an effective tactic to divide Palestinian land into little bantustans.
Continuing on with its hysterical overdrive in suppressing activists from getting anywhere lest God forbid the true face of apartheid Israel is finally shown to the outside world, once again the Israeli Occupation Forces established flying checkpoints across the West Bank sealed off roads leading to Nabi Saleh as more than 200 protesters succeeded in reaching the village's spring. I say 'once again' because yesterday after the taxi I was in made it past Atara checkpoint, all other cars and taxis were refused passage through. The next taxi carried more activists bound for Nabi Saleh, and after one arrest (thankfully later released) the other activists were made to sit outside in the sweltering sun for six hours. The village itself was under siege until 8 pm, which definitely wasn't going to help my case with my parents since I got home late.
To show solidarity with the second flotilla, the villagers along with volunteers stayed up late on Thursday night to finish a model of a ship, which they named "The Popular Resistance Flotilla"/ اسطول المقاومة الشعبية. It was made up of a few wooden planks cobbled together but, adorned with a huge Palestine flag on its mast and sporting flags of other countries it looked beautiful. After noon prayers, the procession made its way down the street with the IOF watching them from below and as soon as they got within one hundred meters the soldiers fired tear gas straight at the crowd. It seems like every week the tear gas gets more toxic, its effects made to last longer.
A new campaign has started in Palestine to embargo arms sales in Israel, with the UK government continuing to sell arms to Israel in violation of its own arms export policy.
Israel in return "battle-tests" some of military equipment against the Palestinians, the lab rats.
Last Friday in Bilin the village celebrated and partied as after seven years of demonstrating, part of the Apartheid Wall was finally going to be dismantled. The village would regain 275 acres out of the 600 acres annexed to the Wall and the neighboring settlement. Bilin I Love You by French photographer Anne Paq is a must read, as she captures the festive victorious atmosphere after the village had sacrificed so much to reach this point. And yet, that is certainly no precursor to the Wall's beginning of the end demise, in case anyone thought that was so. Wafa News and Info Agency reports that in the village of Walaja, north-east of Bethlehem, Israeli forces marked the land to raze and uproot olive trees where a new path of the Apartheid Wall is to be constructed. This new path will take over 500 dunums and isolate a further 1958 dunums.
Today was another day for activism, but it wasn't publicized because the organizers wanted to catch the Israeli army by surprise. Hundreds of activists made their way to Nabi Saleh after they spent a couple of hours in Bilin. They however were met with a hundred soldiers. After reaching the spring, Tamimi Press reports that it was named Emily Spring by the activists in homage to the Jewish American student Emily Henochowicz who lost an eye after protesting at Qalandiya checkpoint the outrageous Israeli attack on the flotilla last year.
The IOF then responded with the typical tear gas, which lead to a number of people suffocating. One canister hit Ahed, Bassem and Nariam Tamimi's oldest son in the leg, where it burned the skin. Wa'd had suffered from a similar injury just a few weeks ago. Nariman and her brother in law Bilal were briefly detained before being released. What exactly can the IOF do to two people working with B'tsalem, the Israeli human rights organization? I remembered Wa'd sleeping on the floor in the open living room yesterday, as we sat down for the communal breakfast Nariman made for us, in between getting her youngest son dressed and combing her daughter's hair. Watch her below, screaming at the soldiers who shot Wa'd.
For some reason, the Israeli media/hasbarists thought that those foreigners at Bilin and Nabi Saleh were part of the Air Flotilla/Flytilla crew. Joseph Dana exposes their fallacy as just another case of false and lazy journalism. Because as soon as it gets published in The Jerusalem Post, that gives the other news outlets to do the same.
According to media reports carried by all major news outlets in Israel, four ‘air flotilla’ passengers have been arrested/detained in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh during an unarmed demonstration this morning. Haartez, in its headline story, is citing reports by Channel 10 (Heb), that four ‘air flotilla’ activists have been taken for questioning after they had been arrested in the demonstration. The Jerusalem Post, citing unnamed ‘organizers’, claims that air flotilla passengers are clashing with security forces in Nabi Saleh. The paper does not cite the name of the organizations that the ‘organizers’ are representatives of. Ynet is reporting that activists might be involved in demonstrations in Nabi Saleh and Qalandiya but they provide nothing to substantiate their claims. None of these reports seem to based on facts on the ground in Nabi Saleh.
Kobi Snitz, an Israeli activist with the Anarchists Against the Wall, told me by telephone from Nabi Saleh that he has not seen any ‘air flotilla’ passenger in the course of the day. He told me that four people were indeed arrested, but they were all Israeli Jews from Tel Aviv. In fact, the Israeli activists are being charged with assaulting soldiers despite clear video footage to the contrary according to Snitz.
The activists then climbed into buses and made their way to Qalandiya checkpoint, where an earlier demonstration in the morning had taken place. They managed to cut part of the fences around the checkpoint, but decided not to go through because their numbers had drastically reduced.
It seems silly and unnecessary to write, but sometimes living under occupation hits you hard and in the most unexpected times. Following the events unfolding on Twitter, I stopped breathing for a few seconds, my hands raised over the keyboard as I thought, damn. Look at the brutality of the soldiers in the video. This is no exception, they act like that all the time. A Martian would think it safe to assume that their reaction is justified because the assailants (the activists on the ground getting slugged and verbally abused) are packing some serious heat or something.
Silly Israel, everything you are doing only strengthens my will, my resolve, my sumud to go on, keep protesting, fight for my rights and my land until liberation is achieved.