Monday, June 9, 2008

Anti-wall demonstrations at Nil'in village

8 June, 2008

Nil’in village has become the latest village to begin organising demonstrations against the building of the apartheid wall and the stealing of their farm land by the Israeli state.

The village is located in the Ramallah district, approximately 10 kilometres from the village of Bil’in which has conducted a non-stop struggle against the confiscation of their land and the building of the apartheid wall on their land for the past three years.

In 2003, other villages in the region, including Budrus, Al Midya, Deir Qadddis and Kharbata led the struggle in non-violent resistance against the wall, holding daily and/or weekly demonstrations. Budrus became one of the first villages to successful win an Israeli court order for the aparthied wall to be pushed back to the Green Line.

In the last week of May 2008, construction began once again on the land belonging to Nil’in village in order to build the apartheid wall. Since construction began, the village has held large demonstrations nearly every second day. The village has been joined in their demonstrations by International solidarity activists and Israeli anti-occupation activists.

In response to the demonstrations, the Israel military have reacted with extreme violence, including firing massive amounts of teargas from new weaponry mounted on jeeps. The weaponry consists of cannons which are capable of firing between 10 and 15 teargas canisters simultaneously.

The biggest of the demonstrations, which happened last week, have involved around 500people, the majority from the village of Nil’in.

On Friday night, the village held an innovative protest in which they assembled close to the fence line of the illegal Israeli settlement of Hashmon’im with pots and pans banging them to signal the poverty that Palestinians were suffering. They were also “armed” with other noise makers such as whistles and sirens to represent they would not be quite and accept the stealing of their land.

On June 8, approximately 120 Palestinian, Israeli and International demonstrators marched to Nil’in’s fields in an attempt to stop the destruction of their land. The non-violent demonstration was met with force by the Israeli military, who opened fire on the unarmed demonstrators. The front line of the demonstration, which was made up of Israeli anti-occupation activists, many from the Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall, were less then 10 metres from the soldiers. The Israeli soldiers, in violation of their own military regulations, fired directly into the front line. An Israeli photojournalist activist was hit by a teargas canister at close range, inflicting a deep wound near his hip. A number of times during the demonstration, canisters in large numbers fired at waist level, whizzed by myself and other activists. A Palestinian activist and an Israeli anti-occupation from Anarchists Against the Wall were detained and arrested by the Israeli military.

Nil’in village has vowed to continue its demonstrations against the confiscation of their farm land and the building of the Apartheid Wall.

Non-violent anti-wall demonstrators march to Nil'in's farm land.

Israeli non-violent anti-occupation activists from Anarchists Against the Wall and media on front line of demonstration. The photo was taken just before the Israeli military opened fire with teargas canisters directly into the group.

Israeli soldier armed with a tear gas launcher

Teargas fired at unarmed, non-violent demonstrators by Israeli military.
Photograph by Oren Ziv, ActiveStills (published with permission from ActiveStills)

Photograph by Oren Ziv, ActiveStills (published with permission from ActiveStills)

Teargas being fired by Israeli military
Photograph by Oren Ziv, ActiveStills (published with permission from ActiveStills)

Israeli military forces arrest Palestinian demonstrator
Photograph by Oren Ziv, ActiveStills (published with permission from ActiveStills)

Tear gas explodes, nears Palestinian demonstrators

Palestinian ambulance assists injured demonstrators who had been hit by teargas canisters or had been overcome with teargas inhilation

Israeli photojournalist injured by Israeli military, who fired directly into front line of demonstrators less then 10 metres away. This is illegal under the Israeli military's own operational regulations.

Close up of deep wound caused by tear gas canister fired directly into frontline of anti-wall demonstrators.

Two expended teargas cannisters fired at demonstrators in Nil'in by Israei military.

Palestinian children at Nil'in demonstration with banner. In the background is the illegal Israeli colony of Hashmon'im


Yishai said...

We already did this. If you want to choose violence then you will suffer. The Arabs chose terror- suicide bombings, shootings, etc., and now they're sad that we put an end to it. Boo-hoo:

"Violence Increases at Na'alin Security Barrier Protest" (5 Sivan 5768, June 8, '08; Reported 13:57 PM)

A demonstration against the Judea-Samaria security barrier by some 150 left-wing Israelis, Palestinian Authority Arabs and foreign nationals turned violent Sunday afternoon.

Protesters at the barrier site, near the village of Na'alin, located near the PA-controlled Samarian city of Ramallah and the Israeli city of Modi'in, hurled rocks at the IDF soldiers protecting the area. The army has declared the area to be a closed military zone.

An IDF spokesperson said the soldiers were using riot dispersal methods to deal with the violence. Earlier in the day, two protesters were lightly injured and four were arrested in the melee.

Yishai said...

Break out the bats:

More Philistine "non-violence" today

A Border Guard officer suffered mild injuries Wednesday after being stoned by protestors in an anti-security fence demonstration near the town of Naalin, west of the west bank city of Ramallah.

Palestinians, left-wing activists and foreign peace activists are trying to interrupt the construction on site, and are stoning the soldiers. IDF troops present at the scene are using crowd-control measure to disperse the rally.

Kim said...

Yep, your right. We have already did this.

Say what you want Yishai, but one simple fact remains. I was there and you weren't.

And once again, your "reports" show what well rehearsed liars the Israeli military are.

But no matter, as Malcolm X once said, "the truth is on the side of the oppressed".

Kim said...

An interesting blog commentary by an Israeli-American Orthodox Jew on the lies of the IDF and the unthinking acceptance of right wing zionists ...

The Magnes Zionist
Self-Criticism from an Israeli, American, and Orthodox Jewish Perspective

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
How Do You Know When the IDF Lies? The Brian Avery Case.

Ok, so you are an intelligent, reasonable, human being. You have learned to be skeptical of the claims of dyed-in-the-wool ideologues, government agencies, politicians, journalists, lawyers, etc. You know that people and organizations have agendas and will lie to cover their tushies and to protect their agendas, always in the service of a noble cause. But, still, there are people who will speak the truth even when it is not in their interest.

So how do you know when somebody or some organization, say, the Israel Defence Forces, is telling the truth or lying?

Almost five years ago, International Solidarity Movement volunteer Brian Avery suffered a wound in his face which disfigured and partly disabled him. Avery said he was shot be an IDF patrol. The IDF says that the bullet ricocheted against a wall, and he was filled with shrapnel in his face (i.e., the soldiers did not shoot directly at him). The IDF's rules do not now require it to open a military investigation when civilians are hurt (this, of course, is a change from the First Intifada.) So the IDF didn't at first launch an investigation; they just relied on the field commander's report. Later, in a fit of superogatory kindness typical of people who have been caught with their pants down, they decided "lifnit mi-shurat ha-din" to launch a military investigation. Of course, this was after Avery had petitioned the high court and looked like he would win.In the meantime, Avery has withdrawn that petition, but now has a suit against the state for damages he suffered.

So how do you know who is telling the truth? That's simple. If you are pro-Israel, you will believe the IDF. If you are not, you will believe Avery. Who the hell cares about truth and justice for one American goy, who shouldn't have been there in the first place? Just read the talkbacks of the Jerusalem Post article.

But who do you believe when the "he-said/she-said" is not between the IDF and the leftwing enemies of Israel, but between the soldiers who allegedly did the shooting and their military superiors?

For some of my rightwinger readers, again, it is no brainer. "So what, we shot him. Big deal. He is lucky he is not dead. OK, so we lied about shooting him. That's good for Israel, maybe. Who cares?"

These are the folks who would not oppose Brian Avery's mother being gassed and turned into soap if they thought it was in the interests of the Jewish State. I really don't care to write for people like that. It is enough that I have to breathe the same air that they do.

But I still have at least one reader out there who genuinely believe that the IDF is different from other armies, that while there may be a few bad apples, like in any army (see: Abu Ghreib), the IDF can be trusted to police its own, etc., to take appropriate steps when necessary, to balance, based on its own Code of Ethics, military exigency with human rights.

So for those readers (including the editors of Reform Judaism Magazine, who last summer featured a cover story on the IDF's "ethical behavior") let Jerry tell you how the IDF works.

Step One. Somebody shoots and disfigures an American civilian, a leftwing loony.

Step Two. The field commander, or whoever has to, writes up a report of the incident in a way as to cover his tush. It's accepted by the higher ups, of course. After all, the guy shot was a goy, and with any luck, his family won't be able to fight for him in court.

Step Three. Surprise! The attorneys representing the civilian petition the High Court for a full-scale military investigation.

Step Four. The state, representing the military, argues that this is unnecessary. When the state's attorneys sense that they are going to lose in court, they hastily change their position and declare that they will investigate. (Note to state -- try to weaken the authority of the High Court)

Step Five. Surprise! The wounded civilian sues the state for damages and receives affidavits from the soldiers that contradict the sworn reports of the IDF Military Adjunct General.

Step Six. The lawyers "leak" the petitioner's claim to left-of-center Haaretz on January 10, 2007, making the army look bad.

Step Seven. A few days later, right-of-center Jerusalem Post picks up the story, this time, giving ample space to the "sources in the Military Advocate General's office" to rebut the charges.

Step Eight. The rebuttals are weak, unconvincing, and partial, but it doesn't matter. Until the matter is settled in court, the story will have passed.

That's how it works. It usually doesn't get past Step Two.

A comparison of the story in Haaretz and the story in the Jerusalem Post, shows that the latter publicized only some of the claims found in the soldier's affidavits that contradicted the Military Advocate General's office.

The story in the Post can be read here and on Haaretz (only in Hebrew!) here

Let me just give you one example. Here is how the Post reports the contradiction:

In his response to the petition, the Military Advocate-General wrote that after the soldiers spotted suspicious figures, the machine gun operator fired eight to 10 bullets "in the direction of the highway, close to the wall of a building."

In the affidavit, however, A.S. said he had ordered L.C. to fire "at the road, between the Armored Personnel Carrier [APC] and the figures," purposely aiming short.

According to Haaretz, the soldiers' affidavits say that the soldiers fired at three suspicious figures.

According to the Post:
• Contrary to the army's claim that the soldiers in the APC did not know (and therefore did not report) that they had hit someone, a detailed report of the incident was registered in the brigade operation's log that night. The first entry was recorded one hour after the incident and stated that "an American was severely wounded in the face by a bullet. Brian Avery is in a hospital in Jenin. They want to evacuate him to Israel."
The "sources" response?

The brigade only heard of the shooting from the IDF Spokesman's Office, which called to inquire about media reports it had received concerning an American allegedly shot in Jenin. Following the phone call with the IDF Spokesman's Office, the brigade operations officer recorded the shooting in the operations log.

According to the Haaretz article, however, the affidavits show that the soldiers themselves told the brigade operations officer that one of the people had fallen.

Look, I don't know who is getting the material in the affidavits right -- the Post, which used its sources in the IDF, or Haaretz, which used the plaintiff's attorney. The army claims it made a thorough investigation, and the affidavits claim that the soldiers themselves were not interviewed till a year and a half after the incident.

But that is how the system works. Were it not for one American's family, a human rights lawyer, and an Haaretz journalist, and the ability, interest, and time, of readers to sift through this stuff, the IDF would get away with murder.

Which they do all the time...and which doesn't matter -- because no matter what they do, you will not find them criticized, certainly not by the pro-Israel supporters.

The IDF is no better or worse than other armies in long-term occupations. Such occupations inevitably corrupt. For every Brian Avery there are tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians who have suffered and who will never see redress. Avery's case attracts attention because he is an American. And because there are no Americans lobbying kassams in Sderot.

Believe, if you will, that Israel must act brutally, immorally, monstrously, and barbarously, in order to survive. Believe that this is the price that must be paid for a Jewish state. I disagree, but one can make that argument.

But don't deceive yourself into thinking that the IDF is the most moral army in the world. You can have all the Michael Walzerian theories of just-war, served up with all the side dishes of Asa Kasherian Ethical Codes for the Army, you like.

The reality on the ground -- something not even considered in the aforementioned article in Reform Judaism Magazine, which, I guarantee you, will not discuss the Avery case -- will still make any healthy person sick to her stomach.

I used to believe that garbage about the IDF being "the most moral army in the world." After all, my four children are moral, and they all served in it. Heck, I am not that bad, and I served in it.

Then I heard what it does on a routine basis. No, not widespread murder or rape. Only torture and thousands, hundreds of thousands, of petty humiliations -- which are part and parcel of the Occupation, every occupation.

So who do you believe?

Don't give anybody the benefit of the doubt.

Yishai said...

More "Non-violence"" (and let's see if Kim dares to allow the truth to be known):

Arabs, Left Wingers Rioting (16 Sivan 5768, June 19, '08)

Approximately two hundred Arabs, left-wing activists and foreign supporters are rioting next to the village of Na’alin, north-west of Jerusalem, to prevent the building of the security fence in that area.

According to the IDF, the rioters are violating a military order preventing civilian access to the area to facilitate the building of the security fence. The rioters are throwing rocks at the IDF forces, who are responding with non-lethal riot control methods.

Rob said...

"....but one simple fact remains. I was there and you weren't."

Thee problem with that is that so were the Israeli soldiers, and we don't have reliable indications that an ISM activist would not lie in such circumstances. Quite the opposite, in fact. (No offence.)

Kim said...

wow, i never realised that you were so naive. There have been numerous reports by both the Israeli human rights groups, Israeli ex-soliders themselves (see the testimonies on Breakign the silence) and by International human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International that Israeli soliders lie all the time.

There have been may proven cases, such as the one I listed from the Magnes Zionist website of israeli soliders getting caught out lying.

As for Yishai news report, oh you do know how to make me have a belly laugh don't you Yishai...

The fact is the "security fence" is being built on the land that belongs to the Palestinian farmers, so of course they are protesting.

What right to the Israeli military to tell Palestinian farmers they can not access their land and crops.

Oh and yes, as for the non-lethal riot control metholds, what a joke, rubber coated steel bullets kill just as easily as live ammunition. Also the army use live ammunition at these demonstrations.

The fact you can't change Yishai, is the wall is illegal, an oppressed people under occupation such as the Palestinians are have the right under international law to armed resistance (whether you or I agree with it or like it or not).