A foreign activist wearing a plastic suit for protection against skunk water marches with a Palestinian flag during the weekly demonstration against Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah, Friday, June 24, 2011. All photos from GETTY IMAGES
June 24, 2011
Samer Mohammed Burnat was wounded by a tear gas canister fired directly at his foot. This was in addition to dozens of cases of choking from poison gas in the weekly march organized by the Popular Committee against the Wall and settlements, which issued calls to destroy the wall this Friday.
Salam Fayyad takes part in West Bank village demonstration, as protesters manage to dismantle parts of fence. 'This is just the beginning, but a good one,' Fayyad tells crowd
"This occupation has to end, not only because it’s oppressive to us Palestinians but because it’s corrosive to Israelis. That's what this event represents to us. That's what it signifies ~ it has huge significance," Fayyad said.
Leaping to kick back a tear can cannister.....
"Four years since the High Court ruling, which at long last started to be implemented. It's not the end of the road, but it’s the beginning and it encourages us and our people here in Bilin and elsewhere," he said, adding that "it underscores the immense power of nonviolence
After the Israeli army began work to dismantle the Apartheid Wall On Wednesday earlier this week, the villagers together with local, international and Israeli supporters as well as local politicians, took down the gate of the wall, neither trusting, nor willing to leave it to the Zionist authorities to implement international law and do justice.
Participating along with the people of Bil'in and Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad there were many other leaders. They included Mohamed Baraka, an Israeli parliament member, Saleh Ra'fat, a member of the political office of the Democratic Front, Hisham Abu Raya, a member of the political office of the Palestinian Liberation Front. There were also many people from different popular activities and political groups in addition to international and Israeli solidarity activists.
Around 500 protestors marched to the Apartheid Wall, waving flags, and calling for the demolition of the wall, for freedom and justice in chants. In spite of the decision of even the Israeli Supreme Court, that ruled that the route of the Wall in Bil'in was illegal, the army began shooting tear gas at the protesters even before most made it to the Wall. Immediately, villagers destroyed the gate of the Wall with a tractor.
The march began after Friday prayers from the center of the village and moved towards the wall. Participants raised Palestinian flags and banners of the different national factions and chanted slogans of national calls to remove the wall, end the occupation and adhere to the national principles of Palestine. In a new phenomenon, participants used a bulldozer (JCP) in an attempt to root up and dismantle the fence, and were actually successful in removing part of it.
When participants reached the eastern gate of the wall, the soldiers showered tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber bullets, as well as live bullets, at the bulldozer. Eventually the driver of the bulldozer fled the area and escaped arrest.
Skunk water is considered a cultural weapon and has thus been condemned by the international community. It is made up of several different, unidentified, bad-smelling chemicals that cast a wretched smell which lasts for weeks and is nearly impossible to remove. And we all know what “waste water” consists of.
,The military used a machine to spray demonstrators with skunk and waste water, a chemical liquid that protestors have termed "shit" or "skunk" because it smells in fact like shit and sticks to people's clothes and other surfaces for days. The protesters were prepared, however. A small group wearing plastic overalls and protective gear stayed right in front of the army, getting showered by the liquid, and raised their hands in signs of victory.
Seeing that the protesters weren't dispersing from their own soil, the army began targeting them directly with several rounds of tear gas. One protestor crossed the gate and approached the army, insisting on the illegality of the wall and the legitimacy of the villagers to dismantle it. The army threatened to shoot him from less than a meter's distance and sprayed him with the "shit" directly in the face.
A Palestinian demonstrator steps out from a tractor hit by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli forces as protestors were using the machine to try and bring down Israel's separation barrier
The soldiers fired teargas into the olive groves with the intent of setting fire to them. Many olive trees were burned as a result of this
In a speech by the People's Committee delivered at the beginning of the march by Bassel Mansour, a member of the committee, he confirmed adherence to resistance as an option to stop the occupation in all its forms, and that victory is not impossible. He also stated that when you believe in destroying the occupation it becomes a reality to stop the building and construction of the wall.
Mansour also noted that it is time to pull together the entire free world to put an end to this hateful occupation and free the people of Palestine, like the rest of the world's peoples. He emphasized that the victory of Bil'in against the wall and the occupation creates a basis for the liberation of Palestine.
At the end of his speech, he remembered all those who have stood next to the people of Bil'in in their battle against the occupation and the walls. This victory is considered a gift to the spirit of the martyr Yasser Arafat and to the souls of the martyrs Bassem Abu Rahma, his sister Jawaher Abu Rahma, activists Rachel Corrie and Vittorio Arrigoni, and to all the martyrs.
The victory of Bil'in against the wall and the occupation creates a basis for the liberation of Palestine.
Some 200 protesters rallied at Bilin and some reportedly rioted and stoned IDF forces present at the scene. Military forces were attempting to disperse the protesters by using crowd-control measures.
The length of fence set to be removed from Bilin is 2.7km long. The new route of the fence, which is set to replace the existing one, is 3.2km long. It stands to be mostly a concrete wall, due to the proximity to Modiin Elite and fears of gunfire from the Palestinian side at Israel.
This is one dangerous woman,
like Latuff's Mother Palestine, she leads the way.
The anti-fence protests in Bilin date back seven years. The area has become a hotspot for clashes between Palestinians and security forces.
All in all, six demonstrators sustained injuries and many others suffered from tear gas inhalation. Today's demonstration took place without Ibrahim Burnat, who was beaten and arrested two days ago while collecting empty tear gas canisters near the Wall. He is currently held at the military prison at Ofer militarybase.
In spite of the immense repression and violence through the army, the protestors kept coming back and chanting, as they have done every week for over six years, determined to destroy the wall that illegally annexes 60% of their walls.