Bi’lin

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Popular Resistance

By David Kattenburg

By mainstream media accounts, the truce between Israel and Hamas is holding steady.

Alternative sources tell a different story. This past Friday, eleven Gazans were injured by Israeli soldiers near Israel’s Rafah crossing. Twenty one year-old Mahmoud Jaroun died of his wounds. Israeli military authorities say the Palestinians had wandered too close to Israel’s barrier fence and were vandalizing it. Another forty Palestinians have been injured and two killed under similar circumstances since the truce was declared.

 

On the other side of little besieged Gaza, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights reports that fifteen fishermen have been arrested and six boats confiscated or destroyed since the November 22 “truce.” This, in spite of Israel’s agreement to allow Gazan fishermen to drop their nets within six kilometers of the coast, up from the previous limit of two (Under the terms of the 1994 Oslo Accords, Gazan fishermen have access 20 kms out).

Not surprisingly, Israeli violations have been downplayed by the mainstream media. “Israeli troops fired on Gazans surging toward Israel’s border fence Friday, killing one person but leaving intact the fragile two-day-old cease-fire,” a Huffington Post report revealed.

On CBC Radio’s Day Six, host Brent Bambury explored whether or not non-violent action, led by a “Palestinian Gandhi,” might prove more fruitful for Palestinians than violence. Truth be told, Palestinians have been resisting occupation non-violently for years. Indeed, it was Israel’s iron-fisted response to popular non-violent action in the early days of the first Intifada (1987-1992) that paved the way to suicide-bombing.

Today, weekly peaceful protests in villages across the West Bank are routinely greeted by Israeli teargas, sewage water, concussion grenades, and the occasional burst of live rounds. The village of Bi’lin, twelve kilometers west of Ramallah, is one of these. Having heard about Bi’lin’s Friday protests, I decided to attend. Listen to the audio collage beneath the photo above.


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