Occupation erected military checkpoints to suppress the Bi’lin weekly protest which also commemorated the opening of the World Cup
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Occupation erected military checkpoints to suppress the Bi’lin weekly protest which also commemorated the opening of the World Cup

Israeli Occupation forces erected military checkpoints
at the entrances of Bi’lin, a village in the Ramallah District, in order to prevent people from joining the village’s weekly protest against the Apartheid Wall. Those who tried to enter Bi’lin were warned that they would be arrested and deported from the country for their involvement in the protest, and many people were not even allowed into the village.

The erection of the military checkpoints was also intended to suppress the football match that was designed as an event of this week’s protest. The match between Palestinians and internationals not only served to celebrate the beginning of the World Cup in South Africa, but it also served as an act of resistance against Israeli occupation and the construction of the Apartheid Wall.

The football players and fellow demonstrators marched towards the area behind the Wall to establish a match, but were prevented from doing so my Israeli Occupation forces. A match then began in the area in front of the Wall, near the gate barrier. However, Israeli occupation forces fired stun grenades, rubber bullets, and tear gas at the match, and chased participants through the olive groves to the outskirts of the village.

Many people were injured during these clashes, including 28-year-old journalist who was harmed by a tear gas canister, and dozens of cases of suffocation due to the inhalation of tear gas. Moreover, five journalists were arrested, of which two were released and three remained in detention, including 22-year-old Alaa Ghosheh and an unnamed foreign journalist. The firing of tear gas also led to the burning and destruction of significant portions of land belonging to the villagers of Bi’lin in spite of the efforts of the Palestinian Civil Defense to extinguish the fires.

The special football event of the Bi’lin protest this week coincides with the opening of the World Cup in South Africa, a country where apartheid once reigned like it still does here with the Israeli Occupation of Palestinians. The world rose up in opposition to apartheid in South Africa, leading to the end of the discriminatory system, yet the international community has not demonstrated that same extent of resistance apartheid practices of Israel which mirror those once used in South Africa. The football event in Bi’lin shed light on these similarities to oppose Israeli Occupation and its apartheid regime.