Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ni'ilin demonstration 17.7.2008

Ni'ilin demonstration 17.7.2008:

"protest against the separation barrier Ni'ilin 17.7.2008"

Reports from the ground: weekly non-violent struggles in Bethlehem and Ni’lin

Palestinian National Initiative
19 July 2008

1. Bethlehem: Israeli army prevents weekly march against the apartheid Wall

Bethlehem, 18-07-08 – On Friday the 18th of July, the peaceful weekly march against the apartheid Wall held in the town of El Masara, South of Bethlehem, was intercepted immediately after the participants reached the new section of the Wall, by a huge amount of Israeli occupation forces. The IOF prevented the peaceful demonstration and attacked the participants by using sound grenades and sticks. Clashes took place between the demonstrators and the soldiers.

The spoke person of the media campaign for the popular resistance against the Wall in the Governorate of Bethlehem, Mohammed Barijya, stated that “the barbaric policy made of occupation and repression will not discourage our people to keep on the popular resistance” and called for the recognition of the rights “of people who refused to surrender and to live as slaves 60 years ago.”

Mohamed Aouda, the Secretary of Palestinian National Initiative in Bethlehem thanked a group of international people for showing their solidarity to the people of Bethleem and stressed on the idea that massive popular struggle is now necessary in this stage of the early building of a new section of the Wall to defeat the occupation. Aouda called for solidarity, stressing that popular resistance has to still over into every villages and towns in Palestine.

“Weekly peaceful marches against the apartheid Wall will keep on expanding, despite the Israeli violence shown during the on demonstrations”, said Mazen El Azza, the coordinator of the campaign for the popular resistance against the Wall in the governorate of Bethleem. He called the international community to launch a broad international solidarity campaign to support Bethlehem governorate, which counts the highest rate of Wall section and settlements in the West Bank, that turned the territory into a big jail, made of walls, barbed wire and gates.

2. Ni’lin: 65 actions of non-violent popular struggles have been held for 80 days

Ramallah, 18-07-08, On Friday the 18th a massive peaceful march in the town of Ni’lin was held against the Israel threat of land confiscation and the building of a new section of the apartheid Wall, involving hundreds of Ni’lin residents along with international and Israeli activists

The prayers from the Ni’lin gathered were gathering on friday when Murad Khalil Amer, the imam, called on the villagers to unite, keep on peacefully struggling against occupation and defend their land. “This march is a continuation of a chain of events, even though the bulldozers and workers ares not working on Fridays and Saturdays the popular struggle is not connected to the work of bulldozers. This struggle will continue as long as damaging and destructions, as long as the expansion of settlements and the building of the apartheid wall and the illegal tunnel will last.”

The village has held more than 65 peaceful actions for 80 days. During theses actions, Ni’lin village delayed the building of the Wall. Because of the success of Ni’lin villagers, “Eli Butterfly” the Israeli construction company signed an agreement with the Israeli military to increase the securityon the ground. Since the, hundreds of Israeli soldiers protected the company, its workers and its machines. But anytime, the Israeli army never succeeds to prevent the peaceful people to reach the bulldozers and stop their actions for hours By doing this, the demonstrators delayed the action of bulldozers, imposing a high cost to the company. This confirms the necessity, the importance and the efficiency of continuing non-violent popular resistance.

Since the beginning of the resistance in Ni’lin and during these 65 actions, more than 200 people have been wounded by rubber bullets and 4 by live munitions, amongst which, Jamil Srour, a villagers from Ni’lin who still remains in Ramallah hospital in an instable health, as the bullet that reached his abdomen still remains in his body. According to the doctors, his health has not improved since he arrived at the hospital, despite of the care of the medical team.

Accordingly, the villagers of Ni’lin and the Ni’lin Popular Committee against the Wall are calling on the officials to support the wounded of Ni’lin struggle and especially Jamil Srour to follow his health state. In addition, 100 residents faced respiratory problems because of tear gas inhalations and the forces arrested more than 17 participants during the peaceful marches.

Meanwhile, Salah Mohammed Khawaja remains in jail. His release is dependent on a 3,000 shekels bail. The bail procedure –newly imposed by Israel- is considered as a collective punishment that aims to prevent the villagers to hold non-violent popular struggle, imposing sealing, curfews, destroying infrastructure and houses in the village.

Salah al Khawaja, the spoke person of Ni’lin Popular Committee against the Wall stated that the Israeli forces have started to mark the area in order to start the building of the illegal tunnel. According to the Israeli maps and plans, the tunnel will be connected with the road 446 a road that was build on one of the best agricultural land in Ni’lin and that divides the village in two part: Upper and Lower Ni’lin, having as consequence, the confiscation of other hundreds of dunums.

The Israeli plan confirms that the Israeli government aims to destroy Ni’lin village, the living of its residents, undermine water resources and turn the village into a big jail.

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