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News :: Human Rights : International
Bil’in weekly demonstration reenacts the Avatar film-Nil’in and Ma’asara
14 Feb 2010

Date: 12/02/2010-The village of Bil’in reenacted James Cameron's new film Avatar during today’s weekly demonstration. Five Palestinian, Israeli and international activists were painted blue, with pointy ears and tales, resembling the Avatar characters. Like Palestinians, the Avatars fight imperialism, although the colonizers have different origins. The Avatars’ presence in Bil’in today symbolizes the united resistance to imperialism of all kinds.
Today’s non-violent demonstration was again met with excessive violence by the Israeli army. Sound bombs and tear gas were used, leaving four people directly injured by the canisters. The canisters were shot directly at the protesters, which is in violation with the IOF’s firing regulations. Many other activists suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Before coming to Bil’in, Israeli activists reported that police were present at their carpool meeting point. Their ID’s were checked and some cars reported they were followed by the police. At the Rantis checkpoint, they were delayed once more and activists were obliged to continue their journey by taxi.

Bil’in has reason to celebrate this week. Yesterday, preparations for the construction of the new Wall began, which returns 30 per cent of Bil’in’s land to the village. Iyad Burnat, Head of the Bil’in Popular Committee speaks of a victory: “We feel relieved and feel the non-violent resistance is successful in its aim. Nevertheless, we will continue our struggle against the occupation as Bil’in still has another 30 per cent of land that is confiscated by Israel.”
Next week Bil’in will have a special demonstration, celebrating five years of non-violent resistance and expects a large number of demonstrators. Bil’in calls for all its supporters to invite people to join in next week’s demonstration.

Three Arrested in Nil’in During Friday Demonstration

Two Israeli activists and one Palestinian cameraman from Nil’in were arrested during the weekly demonstration against the Israeli apartheid wall and settlements in Nil’in village. Palestinian, Israeli, and International activists marched to the giant gate at the apartheid wall in Nilin today with the message: Our land is behind the wall, this is the season to weed and plant our fields, let us access our fields! Once demonstrators reached the wall, they were bombarded with tear gas by the Israeli army. According to residents, Jewish settlers were seen approaching the checkpoint outside the village, they did not enter. It is unclear if their intentions were to enter the village. Demonstrators on their way to Nil’in, Bil’in, and Ma’asara villages today reported long waits and much questioning at checkpoints.

Ratib Ameera and Quse Mohammad Nafea, Nilin activists against the wall and settlements were released today on bail.

The village of Nil’in has been the focus of much Israeli army violence since their campaign to halt the building of Israel's separation wall began in 2004. Hundreds of farmers’ livelihoods have been devastated since the wall has cut them off from their land. Once finished, the village is cut off from 40 percent of its remaining farmland, effectively annexing it to half a dozen large Jewish settlements that encircle Nil’in. The settlements are all illegal under international law.

Feb. 12, 2010

Ma’asara Demonstration Takes a New Route to Settler Road

Activists in Ma’asara village near Bethlehem changed their demonstration route today and marched to the “settler only” road outside the village. Once they reached Highway 60 the demonstration was surrounded by Israeli soldiers and the area was declared a closed military zone. Demonstrators were then besieged by tear gas as they made their way back to the village. Soldiers began following people into the village once the activists crossed the razor wire fence that the military uses to block the progress of weekly demonstrations. Many people suffered from tear gas inhalation at today’s demonstration, and many children were terrified once the military invaded the village.

At the beginning of 2010 the Israeli military began intensifying the level of violence used in their methods to repress non-violent demonstrations in villages opposing the apartheid wall and settlements. Compared to Bil’in and Nil’in villages, which have dealt with military violence for their involvement in campaigns to halt the building of the apartheid wall and illegal Israeli settlement for the last five years, this is a relatively new occurrence in Ma’asara. International activists have been intermittently staying in Ma’asara to document and hopefully diminish soldier violence since the beginning of the year. The army has been targeting activists and popular committee members involved in organizing non-violent demonstrations in a series of night raids. People from the village expressed concern that the military would return tonight and continue targeting activists.

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