Friday, 17 February 2017, marked 12th year of peaceful resistance in Bil’in, where dozens of Palestinian and international activists have went out to commemorate the ongoing resistance. Despite the non-violent protest, Israeli soldiers still attacked the protest with teargas grenades.
People have taken Friday as an opportunity not only to show support for Palestine, but to also speak out against racism, Trump’s attempt at a Muslim ban, and the proposed wall along the US/Mexico border.
Veterans for Peace, an American group of military affiliated men and women, with an ongoing mission “Exposing the True Cost of War and Militarization since 1985” lead the crowd along with other internationals. They work to promote non-violent methods of peace, today by holding a banner saying “NO” to US AID to Israel, occupation, and with referencing the apartheid analogy.
Activists from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee have also attended the demonstration, including head of the committee, Munther Amira. There were also signs reminding citizens of Washington DC to go out and protest on March 26th for Palestine and against AIPAC, a Zionist community in the US.
While the demonstration was mostly peaceful, resistance is never without consequence. Just as it seemed as that the demonstration was coming to a close, two Israeli military jeeps drove out through the villages farmland after a group of boys throwing stones. They chased them over crops and roughly built retaining walls. During the race, a 17 year old tripped and broke his leg. The Israeli soldiers were notified to retreat and left him lying on the ground. Local villagers carried him over stones and dirt to access the ambulance waiting on the nearest road.
The locals of Bil’in have become activists due to their situation. As demonstrated in Emad Burnat’s film, Five Broken Cameras, those who relied on agriculture for a living were forced to respond to the confiscation of land and resources. From there, they became organized.
As one of the first in the West Bank to understand significance of documentation, social media, and exclusively peaceful/lawful means of resisting, they caught the world’s attention. The chants and songs still echo throughout the village, and thanks to social media, throughout the world. The locals, especially the youth, proved today that they are an enthusiastic today as the first Friday demonstration that took place over a decade ago. And thinking back on the injuries, the semi-successful relocating the wall, and the Santa costumes, I believe we can all look forward to their innovated way of fighting oppression and demanding the worlds attention.
Sources: PNN/ FFJ Bil’in- Margaret Halquist