Friday, March 02, 2007

HEBRON/ AT-TUWANI URGENT ACTION: Stop construction of wall in Bi'lin

1 March 2007

HEBRON/ AT-TUWANI URGENT ACTION:  Stop construction of wall in Bi'lin

 Please sign the online petition against the construction of the separation
wall in the Palestinian village of Bi'lin, found at

The current route of the wall will gobble up over half of the village's
land, stifling its agricultural economy.  The Israeli government will use
the confiscated land for the "largest ever illegal construction project in
the West Bank," according to the Sunday, 25 February issue of the Israeli
newspaper, Haaretz.

Last Friday, four CPTers--Janet Benvie, Abigail Ozanne, Seán O'Neill, and
Heidi Schramm--participated in the demonstration in Bi'lin marking the
second anniversary of weekly rallies against the wall.  Around 1000 people
participated, including Mustafa Barghouti, expected to be a minister in the
new Palestinian Authority cabinet, and Israeli author Uri Avnery.

The Israeli military tried to break up the demonstration, using tear gas,
percussion grenades, and a water cannon. The CPTers joined a circle of
Israeli, Palestinian, and international activists sitting with arms locked
in front of the line of soldiers.  The soldiers tried to break up the circle
using the water cannon. Several demonstrators were taken away in ambulances
due to injuries inflicted by the Israeli army.

While some Palestinian youth threw stones, the army's reaction seemed
terribly disproportionate and was directed at all demonstrators, the vast
majority of whom were behaving nonviolently. According to Haaretz, Military
Judge Colonel Shmuel Kedar, upon seeing video of a previous demonstration at
Bi'lin, remarked "there is more violence on the part of security forces than
demonstrators.  Although the soldiers see the cameras, (they) do not
restrain themselves from showing an ugly face to demonstrators who have come
to protest in a democratic way," (Haaretz 25/2/07.)

The weekly demonstrations started in April 2004 as the initiative of the
village council in Bi'lin.  When the village heard about the amount of land
it would lose to the Separation Barrier, they formed a Popular Committee to
plan regular nonviolent actions and legal suits against the wall and to
maintain relationships with other Palestinian, Israeli, and international
activists to that end.  The majority of the village's land, 2300 dunams
(almost 600 acres) including some 100,000 -150,000 olive trees, lies on the
Israeli side of the wall and will be used for the expansion of three
settlements already built on Bi'lin's land.  (Palestine Times 23/2/07).

Interested people can view video of the 23 February 2007 demonstration on
the Gush Shalom website at

They can see CPT's photographs from the February 2007 demonstration at



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