Strong demonstration of international solidarity during Bi’lin’s weekly protest
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Strong demonstration of international solidarity during Bi’lin’s weekly protest

On July 30th, 2010, there was a significant turn-out of international activists at the weekly demonstration against the Wall and settlements in the village of Bi’lin (Ramallah District) which honored the second anniversary of the deaths of Ahmed Musa and Yusef Amira (activists killed in Ni’lin by Israeli Occupation Forces as they were protesting against the Wall). Israeli Occupation Forces suppressed the march leading to the injury of demonstrators and many cases of asphyxiation due to the inhalation of tear gas.

During the march, the participants raised Palestinian flags and pictures of martyrs and prisoners. Demonstrators also repeated slogans condemning Israeli Occupation and settlement expansion and called for the boycott of Israeli goods, an end to the Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, and a stop to the expulsions, deportation, and arrests of activists defending Palestinian human rights. Finally, the march also demanded the release of all prisoners incarcerated for popular resistance and called for a lifting of the siege on the Gaza Strip.

Demonstrators also underlined the importance of bridging internal divisions within Palestinian society in order to foster a strength gained only from national unity. The march demonstrated the necessity of strengthening a collective force to face and overcome the crimes of Israeli Occupation.

The march headed towards the Wall where the Occupation Forces set up a human barricade of soldiers in front of the protesters to prevent them from crossing into the territory behind the Wall from where they attacked the demonstrators. As a result of this violent suppression, Mohammad al-Khatib (18 years-old) sustained an injury to his shoulder from a tear gas canister fired directly at him during the clashes. Moreover, an unidentified international activist also sustained a similar injury to his foot and there were also many cases of asphyxiation due to the inhalation of tear gas. Activists were temporarily detained during the clashes but the unrelenting pressure from demonstrators led to their expedited release.

The presence of international solidarity was pronounced during the march as a British singer and the American hip hop artist Marcel Cartier joined the protest in solidarity with the people from the village and their popular resistance. They expressed their solidarity through musical performances during the march and demanded an end to the Occupation and a dismantling of the Wall.

Moreover, a significant number of international activists participated in the march. A delegation of 50 people from Spain, 30 from Germany, and 12 from France visited the village of Bil’in. They met with the Bi’lin Popular Committee against the Wall and settlements. These international activists listened to a detailed explanation given by the Popular Committee about the experience of the popular resistance in Bil’in during the last five and a half years and the achievements made by the Popular Committee and the important role of the international solidarity movement in achieving justice for Palestine.