While hundreds of millions of people celebrated New Year’s eve last night by going out in the streets, hugging, chanting and drinking, the people of Bil’in did not change their routine much. New Year Eve or not, Friday in Bil’in means demonstrating against the Illegal Apartheid Wall carving the West Bank into bantustans and stealing their land.
The Wall was deemed illegal by the highest judicial body in the world, the International Court of Justice, in 2004 (1). The ‘World Court’ took the Israeli argument that the wall was built for security reasons and dismantled it in a 54 pages document. There is no valid security reason for this wall to have been built, and this illegal wall should be dismantled now, was their verdict.
Their report also asked all members States of the 4th Geneva convention not to aid Israel in building this wall and to make sure that Israel dismantled the wall. This was not optional, in the words of the ICJ. This was the duty of all members States to make sure that International Law was applied even when Israel was concerned.
The route of the wall has also been deemed illegal by Israeli Supreme Court (2) in 2006. The Israeli Supreme Court asked the army to re-route the wall and give back some of the land the Wall construction had stolen from the Palestinians. As of today, nothing has changed. As usual in Israel, the army rules and is even above its own laws.
The “Security” argument thrown about by Israel to justify the building of the wall is nonsense. Only because of the power of Israel’s Hasbara (propaganda) machine it is still used by the media and people around the world. Anyone looking at the facts, should be able to rubbish this idea in a few minutes.
If the Wall was for security, why not build it around the 1967 Green Line? The wall carves into the West Bank, stealing most arable lands and water resources and including the huge illegal Israeli settlements.
led by the village committee,
continued this process.
They have the high moral ground
and they are stronger than bullets.
As usual with oppressive regimes, Israel’s response to those peaceful demonstrations has been indiscriminate force. Sometimes lethal.
The story of the Abu Rahme family is a telling one.
In 2008, Ashraf Abu Rahme, was shot at very close range, while bound, by an Israeli Soldier (3).
On New Year’s Day, thousands had joined the people of Bil’in to demonstrate and celebrate New Year in the best way possible. Resisting, together, regardless of your country of birth, race or religion and standing up against oppression.
Jawaher probably chanted “la la el jidar” (no, no, to the wall) and walked, side by side with others, towards the Apartheid Wall and the line of soldiers, waiting on top of the hill. She then probably run away when the first tear gas were fired, regrouped, and walked back towards the wall again.
~ Or maybe she did not. Not this time.
She inhaled a huge quantity of this most poisonous substance and was taken to a Ramallah hospital. She never recovered and died (6).
The Israeli government and its army have been for years now using the West Bank and Gaza as their testing ground. The Palestinians are their guinea pigs. The Israeli army uses tear gas that would probably be banned in any other country in the world. They shoot tear gas, directly at protesters, once again, an illegal act. But a very rewarding one. Israel’s security industry is booming. It’s never been that good. Countries all over the world are buying Israel’s expertise in security, crowd control and weaponry every day. Israeli soldiers are training other countries commandos all over the planet.
When there is a profit to be made, the law does not count.
An investigation will probably be launched into the incident by the Israeli Army itself.
In total, only 6% of the Israeli soldiers investigated over the last decades have ever been convicted for their actions. Most of the time, those held to account were only reprimanded and never faced jail or any serious actions. That’s Israel’s democracy in full flown.
The good thing is that less and less people are fooled by this. Israel, a self proclaimed Jewish State, as the only democracy in the Middle East sounds more and more like a laughable quote.
The issue now is how, for the Palestinians and their supporters to use this to make sure changes for the best happen on the ground.
The point of all this for the Palestinians to show the whole world, that they will not remain silent, they will not disappear.
As Howard Zinn said:
It is also a very powerful wake up call for anyone that has remained silent so far. This is not an option. In the universal struggle for human rights, everyone needs to be involved, in the hope that one day, change will happen and another powerful page of history will be written, by us, the people.