Weekly demonstrations launch the olive harvest season

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Bil’in tear-gas harvest

Some 30 Israelis and 40 internationals joined local Palestinians for the weekly demonstration against land theft and the violent oppression of Bil’in’s people. The procession was accompanied by an inspiring march-poem read by one of the popular committee members and echoed by the marchers. When they arrived at the gate in the fence, the demonstrators asked the soldiers to let people through to clear the land behind the wall to prepare for the olive harvest. The soldiers responded with tear gas. And so, the demonstrators went on to harvest another kind of local produce: the fallen gas and shock grenades littering the entire fence area. The soldiers responded with tear gas. A couple of kids throw a few stones at the soldiers. The soldiers responded with tear gas. The demonstrators went on to harvest grenades somewhere else. The soldiers responded with tear gas. Finally, with bags full of tear gas and sound grenades, the demonstrators returned to the village. The soldiers responded with tear gas.

 

In the village of Ma’asara a smaller than usual demonstration made its way after the Friday prayer from the centre of the village towards the agricultural lands on which the Apartheid Wall is being built. Attended by some thirty Palestinians, including many children, twenty internationals and eight Israelis, the procession was stopped by occupation soldiers, who placed a razor wire fence on the road near the entrance to the village.
Slogans were chanted and speeches carried in Arabic, English and Hebrew, explaining to the soldiers the vital importance of the stolen lands to the Palestinian people, especially now as the olive harvest season is coming up. After several non-violent attempts to go around the fence failed, the demonstration ended with the promise to return next week, as always.
This week’s demonstration was painted in green, as the children of the village wore their new T-shirts with the slogan “Beat drums, not people” (in English and Arabic). The children wearing the shirts have recently been taking drumming lessons from the Israeli Qassamba group of protest drummers.

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Ma’asara demonstration

Some 150 demonstrators – Palestinian, Israeli & International activists, gathered this Friday at the end of the prayer to march on to the wall annexing the village lands. Massive military and border police forces anticipated the march. Alas, simply by arriving at a different location than the past several weeks, the demonstrators purchased precious army-free time, and some of them began dismantling the hated fence. It took many minutes before the occupation forces re-grasped reality and after frantic jeeps’ maneuvers managed with heavy showers of tear gas to force the demonstrators away from the vulnerable parts. The demonstration then continued along the path of the concrete wall. As the protest went on, many of the courageous village youth confronted the soldiers from very short distance, just near a wired part of the fence. The demonstrators standing a bit far off were relentlessly shot at with tear gas canisters – many times directly aimed at them. After approximately two hours of such confrontations, nearly 30 soldiers invaded the village fields, chasing the demonstration closer to the village. Still, after the soldiers retreated, some of the demonstrators led by the most enthusiastic of the village youth, returned to confront the soldiers at he fence. On their call as well, the demonstration was declared over, not registering any injuries or arrests.

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