Wednesday, March 01, 2006

 

Beit Sira: Getting better at effective action Part 2

I arrived late for the Beit Sira demonstration (Wed 23rd of Feb). By the time I got there a large group of people had already formed up right in front of a line of soldiers and behind them drills and bulldozers had stopped. Apparently just before I arrived some of the Israeli activists had jumped on top of the Caterpiller equipment. This time we were actually holding the soldiers and stopping the equipment where we wanted it. They tried to move us but were unsuccessful. So instead the soldiers moved the equipment to start digging up the villages olive trees. When we commented on this, the soldiers reactions varied from "we are just relocating them," to "it's ok, they have plenty of olive trees."

We advanced towards where the olive trees were, pushing our way through lines of soldiers. For the first time I saw people in the village pushing through lines of soldiers. One Israeli activist was taken by soldiers, was hog tied and was left in the sun by the army. The army then shot rubber bullets into the middle of the protest. People dispersed but then we regrouped again and again.

This photo (left) shows just how little regard the Israeli soldiers had for peaceful protest (remember that I was holding the camera in order to take this shot). Meanwhile the bulldozer continued to tear up the trees and cruelly laid them at the feet of the demonstrators. We left, with plans to come back and continue the struggle the following day.

Compared to where the Beit Sira demos had started it looked like the popular committee were starting to be a bit more bold in pushing the occupation forces. What is clear is that both sides were intensifying. The Palestinians (with Israeli and internationals) were pushing forward in united action.

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