Thursday, March 02, 2006


Beit Sira a tactical retreat?

Tuesdays demonstration at Beit Sira was the shortest demonstration I have been to in Palestine and maybe one of my shortest ever. Palestinian Hussni Rayan (Right) and Matah Cohen were both seriously injured when shot with rubber bullets at last Fridays Beit Sira demonstration. Rayan was shot with a blunt rubber bullet so close that it punctured 8 centremeters into his body almost hitting vital organs, whilst Cohen was shot in the ey with a similar bullet and may loose his eyesight in that eye.

The impact of this was a much more tame and symbolic action at Beit Sira. There was large amounts of media keen to see a repeat of what they missed on Friday. We marched up to the road to plant olive trees to replace those that had been torn out by the bulldozers. We were stopped at the edge of the village by the soldiers, well before the points that we had previously been stopped. The popular committe negotiated with the soldiers that we be allowed to have a few people pass to plant trees. The soldiers allowed it. Even with the eyes of the world and the Israeli masses on the demonstration they decided not to push through. On the one hand the symbolic demonstration worked yet on the other hand a lack of being able to channel the young peoples anger again resulted in stone throwing at the end.

In my opinion the popular committee were too quick to negotiate and too quick to accept the armies terms. The people need to be able to resist what is happening to their village. It is funny in Australia pushing through police lines at many demonstrations would be seen as ultra-left in that it would alienate people from coming to demonstration but here the masses are already convinced of the need to act against the occupation. My fear is that people are starting to find the demonstrations ineffective. The real question that remains unanswered is how are we going to win?

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