I went to the weekly demo against the Wall in the Palestinian village Bil’in yesterday, after several months that I haven’t visited the West Bank at all (I try not to travel beyond the Green Line when it’s not for work). A colleague visiting from the U.S. joined me, and we arrived at the village shortly after noon. Some internationals and a few Israelis gathered in the streets, and when the prayer ended we started walking towards the wall, a march which has become much longer since the army moved the route of the barrier closer to the ultra-Orthodox settlement…Read More... | 41 Comments
NEW YORK -- Before Guy Davidi co-directed and produced 5 Broken Cameras, he was involved in Indymedia and an experienced filmmaker. He was also associated with Anarchists Against the Wall, Israeli anti-occupation activists. This is how he came to know the West Bank village of Bil'in, home of the film's co-director, Emad Burnat. "I lived in the village for two months in 2005," he recalled, during a conversation that took place at a coffee shop in New York, where he was promoting the film ahead of the Oscars. "That was an intense time, with the [Palestinian Legislative Council] election. That…Read More... | 21 Comments
Both Oscar-nominated documentaries from this region are important documents of Israeli occupation and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in their own right. But if 'The Gatekeepers' wins, it will whitewash occupation by presenting Israeli guilt in a redeeming light. If 'Five Broken Cameras' wins, it will go beyond the message that what Israel is doing is wrong and show the world exactly what wrong looks like – and just how ugly it is. The Gatekeepers and 5 Broken Cameras have already succeeded in breaking one of Israel’s biggest taboos: airing out its dirty laundry on the big screen, for the whole world to see. Now…Read More... | 10 Comments
Last week I went to the Friday demonstration in the West Bank village of Bil'in for the first time. Some of the people who know me found it hard to believe. "Only now? Next week they will be marking eight years of demos, and only now you come, Ami?" Yeah. I guess I’m what you call a “couch-leftist.” My battle is done in my home, my sword is my keyboard. I’m proud of that sword, I must say. But for the past year I’ve been feeling it isn’t enough. I live a privileged life in a suburb of Tel Aviv.…Read More... | 23 Comments
Crowd control measures have killed 10 protesters since 2005. Meet 'the skunk,' the tear gas canister and the rubber-coated bullet - just some of the measures the IDF uses against civilian Palestinian protesters in the West Bank. At least ten Palestinians have been killed by crowd control measures used by the IDF since 2005; 46 more were shot to death using live ammunition. These numbers, published by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, refer only to civilian protesters and not to people killed during IDF military operations or to Palestinians who were shot to death at checkpoints or near security fences.…Read More... | 14 Comments
This week: Snow blankets the region, homeless Israelis and Palestinians cope with the storm, repression of hunger strikers extends to their families, and Palestinian residents of Israel and the West Bank resist demolition and displacement.Read More... | 2 Comments
J14 leader Daphni Leef has been charged with rioting, more than half a year after she was violently arrested during an attempt to reignite the protest movement of the summer of 2011. Her trial will begin on January 23. By Leehee Rothschild Look at this photo of Daphni Leef. Look at her, thrown at the floor, crushed under uniformed men - uniforms which define them as the guardians of law and order and give them the authority and power to use reasonable strength, allowing them to define what's reasonable. Look at them triding on her, pulling her, dragging her, beating…Read More... | 7 Comments
By the time the documentary Five Broken Cameras came out in November 2011, the Palestinian village of Bil'in in the occupied West Bank had already become the symbol of Palestinian non-violent resistance to Israeli occupation, Israeli settlements and the separation wall/barrier. It had already celebrated six long years of weekly Friday demonstrations led by the residents, joined by Israeli and international activists and aggressively repressed by the IDF; it had already seen several of its residents killed after being shot by IDF soldiers during these demonstrations (among them, Bassam Abu Rahme and his sister, Jawaher Abu Rahmah); and succeeded in pressuring the government to alter…Read More... | 19 Comments
New light is shed on the shooting death of non-violent demonstrator Bassem Abu Rahme in Bil'in in 2009: A soldier who served in the same brigade as the shooter testifies how the incident was perceived by other soldiers. The testimony strengthens the claim that the shot was fired against army regulations. "The guy who shot him… was kind of pleased with the whole thing, he had an X on his launcher." On April 17, 2009 Bassem Abu Rahme was killed by an extended-range tear-gas canister that hit him directly in the chest. Abu Rahme, one of the most prominent figures…Read More... | 13 Comments
In spite of the headlines, the international media attention, and the flow of pictures showing celebrating Palestinians waving flags – the UN resolution sparked little excitement or joy in the streets of Ramallah, which is still surrounded by walls and settlements on all sides. If anything, it was an evening of sadness and despair. Traveling to Ramallah for the late-night public screening of Palestine's UN bid, I was not expecting much. Journalists who spent the day in the West Bank had already reported that very little was going on, that PA sponsored rallies had attracted only few people in the…Read More... | 8 Comments
What we can learn from the weird orders served to several leftist activists on Sunday. On police intimidation and the sham of 'the only democracy in the Middle East.' At least 11 leftist activists were surprised on Sunday morning when they were woken up by cops. The cops, all plainclothes and in groups of three, knocked on their doors between 6 and 7 in the morning, and handed them what they claimed to be administrative restraining orders, signed by the commanding general, prohibiting them from entering four villages in the occupied West Bank: Bil'in, Qaddum, Ni'lin and Nabi Saleh. Activist…Read More... | 7 Comments
Thirteen anti-occupation activists were awoken by police officers early Sunday morning to receive closed military zone orders, preventing them from joining Palestinians in weekly demonstrations in the West Bank. By Leehee Rothschild Israeli police officers distributed closed military zone orders for four West Bank villages early Sunday morning to 13 prominent activists in groups such as Anarchists Against the Wall, Ta'ayush, and the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement. In most cases, the military orders were delivered personally, but for some activists who happened not to be home, they were left under their doors. In some cases, the officers came to look…Read More... | 4 Comments
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