Sunday, April 23, 2006

 

Beit Sira: a village intimidated into submission

I attended probably the weakest demonstration in Beit Sira to date. There were 10 non-Palestinians (Israelis and Internationals) and about 35 Palestinians out of a village of several thousand marched against the wall in the village. Israel has been rapidly increasing its construction of the apartheid fence in Beit Sira, so much work had been done since I was at the village last.

The rally organisers talked about confronting the fence however due to the lack of numbers, we just marched up the road to where the special response unit was. We sat down in front of the military lines for 5 minutes and then walked back. The reason for the small turn out? Israel has been ringing up the Palestinian villagers individually and threatened to take away permits for any Palestinian involved in the actions. The permits hanning over their heads are for such things as allowing to work in Israel or simply permits to allow them to drive Taxi's through Area C (Areas of the West Bank directly controlled by Israel).

Of course this is illegal and Israel will never admit publicly that they were making these threats but this is what the villagers were telling us. This only adds to the economic grief of the Palestinians who are being starved of funds since Hamas were democratically elected. Still with the situation getting so bad for Beit Sira the people have two options to capitulate or fight. Sadly at this stage it appears the majority are submitting.

One of the very frustrating things about Palestine is a distinct lack of cross village solidarity. Despite the close proximity of villages to each other (5 minutes away) the only activists that travel to support the different demonstrations are the Israeli activists, the Internationals and the ISM Palestinian Organisers.

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