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Saturday, June 04, 2005

where is the non-violent palestinian protest?

a couple of years ago, i attended a talk by four members of jews against the occupation - NYC, three of whom discussed their trips to israstine with the international solidarity movement. there was a large and hostile zionist turnout, which dominated the Q & A period, as usual, with questions that were disguised attacks rather than understanding-enhancing queries.

the most memorable question was, "why don't the palestinians adopt non-violent forms of resistance, instead of bombing israeli civilians?". it was memorable because most of the panel's discussion had been about precisely that: the non-violent forms of resistance initiated by palestinians and supported by the ISM - and suppressed with considerable brutality by the israeli occupation forces. panelist ora wise lambasted the questioner for being so brainwashed as to miss the central point of the presentation.

what follows is a press release from al-mubadara - the palestinian national initiative - a political party that i've blogged about several times. it describes just one more instance in which the israeli army unleashes its brutality against a nonviolent demonstration, and just another instance of prominent palestinian political figure and humanitarian mustapha barghouti being physically assaulted at one of these demonstrations.

Press Release

Over 15 people injured, including Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, by Israeli Occupation Forces during an Anti-Wall Demonstration in Bil’in

Friday, 3 June 2005

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, the head of Al Mubadara, the Palestinian National Initiative, was amongst tens of demonstrators injured by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) at a non-violent demonstration against the construction of Israel’s Apartheid Wall in Bil’in village (West-Ramallah) earlier today.

Dr. Barghouthi was participating in a non-violent, civilian demonstration together with Palestinian, Israeli and international activists against the construction of the Apartheid Wall, that stands in breach of the International Court of Justice’s ruling in July 2004, declaring the construction of the Wall and its associated regime illegal.

During the demonstration the Israeli military began firing rubber bullets, tear gas and sound bombs at demonstrators. Over 15 demonstrators were injured after being beaten by IOF soldiers and tens of others suffered breathing difficulties after inhaling the smoke from tear gas bombs. Among the injured was Dr. Mustafa Barghouti. He sustained injury at his left leg as a result.

Since the construction of the Wall began weekly non-violent demonstrations have been taking place in Bil’in. Until today over 1,500 dunums of agricultural land have been seized and there are plans to confiscate at least an additional 1,000 dunums as construction of the Wall continues. Although Israel has to freeze its colonial expansion and dismantle its illegal settlements, in accordance with international humanitarian law, the route of the Wall near Bil'in has specifically been designed to incorporate the new settlement Menura, and the expansion of the existing settlement Kiryat Sefer.

To date, approximately one third of the construction of the Apartheid Wall has been completed, with only 20 percent running along the Green Line. When completed, the Wall will stretch 670 kilometers, eating into 46 percent of the land of the West Bank.

The Palestinian people call on the international community, as High Contracting parties to the 4th Geneva Convention, to pressurize Israel to bring an immediate halt to its illegal construction of the Apartheid Wall, according to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice and to launch an inquiry into the continuous assaults by the IOF against Palestinian non-violent demonstrations, as today.


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