Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle against the Aparthied Wall in Bil'in wins Carl Von Ossietzky Human Rights Medal

Dear friends,

On December 7, the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and the Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall were jointly awarded the Carl von Ossietzky Human Rights Medalion in Berlin. The Award named for the 1935 German Nobel Peace Prize winner, Carl Von Ossietzky – a journalist and pacifist - who died in a Nazi concentration camp, is awarded for “outstanding service in the realisation of basic and human rights”.

The International League of Human Rights who awarded the prize notes that “Anarchists Against the Wall and the Bil’in Popular Committee exemplify the nonviolent resistance to the Israeli-built "Separation Wall" on Palestinian land, as well as steadfastness in the diverse grass-root campaigns against the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip” and that both groups represent “a forward-looking culture free of exclusion and destruction, demonstrating thereby the possibility of living together in peace and freedom”.

The residents of Bil’in village have waged and continue to wage a courageous struggle against the illegal Israeli occupation and confiscation of their land and the land of other villages. Each week they are joined by members of the Anarchists Against the Wall (AATW), who regularly put their bodies on the line to stand in solidarity with not just the village of Bil’in but also other villages throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories, who are facing the everyday brutality of the Israel occupation forces. In this struggle for basic human rights and justice, many Palestinians have lost their lives or have been seriously injured by Israeli occupation forces and several members of AATW have also been seriously injured.

The Carl von Ossietzky Award is significant in that it not only recognises the significance of the joint popular struggle, but it helps to contribute to raising awareness about the struggle and what is really happening on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

I have included below a copy of the acceptance speech given by members of Anarchists Against the Wall at the award ceremony, who dedicated their award to 10 year old Ahmad Mousa and 17 year old Yousef Amira, who were murdered by the Israeli occupation forces in the village of Nil’in earlier this year (see http://livefromoccupiedpalestine.blogspot.com/2008/08/murder-of-ahmed-age-10.html )

Also included below is a copy of the call issued by AATW in July for financial assistance and support. The appeal issued by AATW is to help them defray the legal costs that their membership, as well as their Palestinian partners, are incurring due to their ongoing joint popular against the Aparthied Wall and the illegal Israeli occupation. Please consider if you may be able to make a donation towards this very important struggle for human rights and justice.

For more information and updates on Bil’in village, please visit http://www.bilin-village.org/

For more information on AATW visit their website at http://www.awalls.org/
In solidarity,

Demonstration in Bil'in to mark Palestinian Land Day - March 2008

AATW Acceptance speech – Carl von Ossietzky Medalion
7 December , 2008 Berlin, Germany

I would like to be honest – I am standing here, over this podium, although as anarchists this situation raises very mixed feelings for me and my comrades. Honestly - we are reluctant to receive prizes for political activism. We would prefer not to be singled out for glory, and receive gratitude for doing what we feel is our duty. However, despite our anarchist reservations, which under normal circumstances would have prevailed, as Israelis - beneficiaries of our country's unjust deeds toward Palestinians, we are very thankful for your support of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid.

Here on this podium, just as in the olive groves of the West Bank, our primary moral duty is not to maintain ideological purity, but rather to stand with Palestinians in their resistance to oppression. We recognize the importance of garnering international support for the ongoing struggle, and the major contribution of this award to this end. We believe that standing here, in the current state of affairs, is a direct continuation of the blocking of bulldozers, standing side by side with the stone throwers, or running away from teargas along with young and elderly protesters.
Here, as in the olive groves, I would like to stress that we are not equal partners, but rather occupiers who join the occupied in THEIR struggle. We are aware of the fact that for many, the participation of Israelis in a Palestinian struggle serves as a stamp of approval, but in our eyes, this partnership is not about granting legitimacy. The Palestinian struggle is legitimate with or without us. Rather, the struggle is an opportunity for us to cross, in action rather than words, the barriers of national allegiance.

Over the past four years, and through over 200 demonstrations, Bil'in has become a symbol and focal point for the movement against Israel's wall – a movement that for the past six years has mobilized thousands of people into grassroots popular resistance, and has forged an unprecedented on-the-ground, joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle.

The fact that the movement is a civilian and unarmed one only serves to accentuate the army’s excessive and unjust violence. Thousands have been injured, hundreds jailed and imprisoned for lengthy periods and 15 were killed, 10 of them minors. We would like to dedicate this medal to the two most recent casualties of the struggle, ten year-old Ahmad Mousa and seventeen year-old Youssef Amirah, who were murdered by border policemen in the village of Ni'ilin four months ago, as part of the attempt to militarily suppress the wall-related insurrection in the village.

Thank you again for supporting the joint popular struggle,
Anarchists Against the Wall


Joint Palestinian and Israeli demonstration to mark 2 years of struggle in Bil'in

Anarachists Against the Wall - Urgent Call for Support

Dear friend,

The mounting legal costs of the joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle against the occupation, and the heightening legal persecution of Palestinian activists, are forcing us to send this urgent appeal for funds. We are asking for your support to continue the work of the Israeli group Anarchists Against the Wall (AATW), and perhaps even more importantly, to allow us to expand our legal fund in an attempt to also cover the legal costs of our Palestinians partners arrested at demonstrations.

Since 2003, the group has supported the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation and specifically against Israel's segregation wall. Week after week, AATW joins the Palestinian popular resistance against the wall, in diverse areas of the West Bank, including the villages of al-Ma'asara, south of Bethlehem, Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, Bil'in and recently, almost on a daily basis, Ni'ilin west of Ramallah. There, the army is taking extreme steps to suppress the demonstrations, such as occasionally firing live ammunition and imposing siege and curfew.

Hundreds if not thousands of activists have been arrested and dozens indicted for their participation in the struggle. Fortunately, the group is represented by a dedicated lawyer, Adv. Gaby Lasky. Adv. Lasky has tirelessly worked to defend activists arrested at demonstrations or direct actions in the West Bank and in Israel. Though the legal defense she provides AATW is almost a full-time job, she has agreed to be paid only a token fee. However, even despite a successful fundraising campaign last year, AATW still owes Adv. Lasky approximately $15,000.

Recently, we have seen an increase in the legal persecution of our Palestinian partners. In solidarity we are now fundraising to expand AATW's existing legal fund to also cover defense costs for Palestinian arrestees. This is in addition to covering the existing aforementioned debt, and operational expenses such as communications and transportation.

We urge you to read this article in The Nation about the recent struggle in Ni'ilin, and to please make a donation that will enable us to continue this struggle.
In appreciation and solidarity.

Anarchists Against the Wall
For more information on how to make a tax deductable donation in the US, contact us at donate@awalls.org .

The shooting of Israeli anti-occupation activist, Lymor Goldstine in Bil'in village, 11 August, 2006

Celebration in Bil'in - Israel Court Victory declares section of illegal wall must be rerouted. However, as of December 2008, the Israeli military and state have not complied with the Israeli court decision, despite Bil'in village winning a favourable ruling one year later, oncea gain stating that Israel state must implement the 2007 Israeli court decision.

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