Thursday, February 02, 2006

 

To exist, is to resist.

I haven't written for a few days. There have been no major demonstrations or even minor ones to talk about since I last wrote but in Bil'in the struggle continues. A court case has been occurring in Tel Aviv over the last couple of days to determine the legality of the wall in the area of Bil'in.

The case in Israel is to determine if the impact of wall disproportionately effects the people of Bil'in more then Israeli security is gained by it. Of course the decision is being made in Israel by an Israeli judge in Tel Aviv where the majority of Bil'in's people cant even visit. The decision isn't being made by the Palestinians or even the UN which has found the wall to be illegal.

We expect a decision (probably against the people of Bil'in) to be reached in the next few days. The people of Bil'in however continue to defy the wall. The outpost is still there and people like Wagi Brnat continue to take their goats to graze in the fields across from the wall. I was with Brnat when soldiers came to tell him to take his 30 or so goats back to the other side of the wall. Finally the soldiers agreed to go off and see if he had the Israeli army's permission to graze the goats on his peoples land.

Finally we got the phone call that he was allowed but after months of fighting for such basic rights you would think he shouldn't have to keep going through this process.

Down from Brnat on the hill was a tractor plowing for olive trees to be planted. The olive trees are on the other side of the wall from the village. The people know that if they are cut off from their land then all their hard work will have been for nothing.

Still it is important for them to continue to farm on the land because if the land is seen to be idle the Israeli government will try and say that they can take it. One of the people plowing for the village told me that on that hill backing onto the construction site of the expanding settlements he used to have 13 olive trees. The trees were removed to make way for the construction. According to a fellow activist each olive tree would be valued at about $1,000.

Still the people are in high spirits, regularly crossing the wall despite the threat of "Mortal Danger" we had about 30 people at the outpost today and everyone was in high spirits. Brnat played what looked like a metal chair leg like a flute and people were having a great time.

We found out that one of his goats was giving birth so we moved to see. He had left his goats in a small field of grass and olive trees only 100 meters from the settlement.
In front of these monolithic structures, two kids were born. I don't think the Israelis wanted us there, but there we where. We stood there in defiance of the occupation, these goats were symbolic of the continuation of the villages traditions and lives in the face of the occupation. To exist is to resist.


[Note that I have spelt the village Bil'in rather then Bil'lin which is how I spelt it in previous posts. Since I have been here I have seen at least 4 different spellings of the village name. Things don't translate perfectly to english and there have also been different spellings of Fatah, the most accurate I now belive is Fateh and the spelling is Bil'in on the UN maps so that is how I will do it from now on I think]

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