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Apartheid Wall Protest in Bil'in, West Bank, Palestine, 12/24/10: photos
On December 24th, 2010, Palestinians, along with a small number of Israelis and internationals, marched out of the village of Bil'in in the West Bank to protest the Israeli apartheid wall. This weekly Friday demonstration has occurred since 2005, organized by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee. Being Christmas Eve, the protest this Friday featured several Santas who tossed out candies to children as the demonstration began in the center of the village and then rang bells throughout the march to the wall. This week, the bulk of the march made it to the wall before Israeli Defense Forces began dispersing noxious tear gas and stun grenades. Shortly thereafter soldiers made their way through the fence and slowly advanced toward the edge of Bil'in, threatening the use of rubber bullets several times as they moved forward.
Pictured below is the huge Modi'in Illit settlement and the apartheid wall below it which is intended to separate the settlement from Bil'in and other nearby Palestinian villages.
Video from the Bil'in demonstration will be posted in the near future and a link will be added at the bottom of this post.
Popular Struggle Coordination Committee
Apartheid Wall Protest in Bil'in, West Bank, Palestine, 12/17/10: photos & video
Bil'in weekly demonstration against the Israeli apartheid wall, 12/17/10
Proposed path for the Apartheid Wall just east of Modi'in Illit; the village of Bil'in is further east (left, just outside of this photo)
Note that while the Wall is often justified by the Israeli government as a security measure for settlements in the West Bank, there is no settlement in this photograph. The Wall violates the Green Line in many areas, with the not-so-subtle intention of creating space for future settlement development. Activists did manage to win a small victory in Israeli courts regarding portions of the still-under-construction wall in the area, whereby the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the wall needs to be moved back a small amount. But, unfortunately, the courts have generally accepted the premise that the wall can legally be built to protect future potential settlements where none exist now, and the military has not yet even begun to move the wall in this one instance.
The tower in this photograph can be seen from the other side in several photos below. Its sole purpose is to house a camera on the top to keep watch on Bil'in and the village's demonstrations against the wall.
I was told that the jeep on the hill in the distance is where the on-scene IDF commander oversees the military's counter-protest operations.
As was reported in the previous Bil'in protest post on Indybay, the gas that the IDF uses is far more severe than that used in the U.S.
The sound of rocks pelting the shields can be heard from a good distance.
The soldier is just about in the middle of the photo, with helmet gleaming in the sun, and the two demonstrators are further to the right gathering rocks to be thrown by hand or with slingshots.
Once the soldiers disperse more gas here and begin to make their way back to the wall, the youth, having a tactical advantage at this point by holding the higher ground, rush in with a heavy rain of rocks at the retreating intruders.
The ever-growing concrete apartheid wall in the distance, with the Modi'in Illit settlement just beyond it