Palestinian Nonviolent Protests Continue… Israeli Violent Reaction Increases

Like every Friday, we gathered early in the morning at Holy Land Trust and traveled with international and Palestinian volunteers to join the villagers, other internationals and Israeli nonviolent activists in the weekly nonviolent protest against the building of the Apartheid Wall. This week’s action coincided with the International Court of Justice ruling that declared the Wall as violating international law and UN resolutions.

Like every week, the Israeli army came with full arms to prevent a peaceful and nonviolent procession on the path where the wall will be build in the village of Um sallamona.   A new Israeli army commander was there this time… (My guess is that they have to change them every once in a while as I am sure even the captains of these divisions start doubting their own military and government policy). Even with the threats to arrest us, the group committed to walking the path of the wall. The Israeli army created a human wall to prevent us from walking and we tried several times to nonviolently break through this wall.

In one surprise attack the Israeli army burst into the demonstrators and arrested Muhammad Brejieh, one of the leaders of the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall in South Bethlehem, a dedicated nonviolent activist and a good friend. He was snatched forcefully as several of us tried to protect him. We were physically assaulted as we tried to hold on to Muhammad. I was kicked by several Israeli soldiers in the end of this raid to force me to let go of Muhammad’s leg; seeing this he asked me to let go.

A decision was made by the organizers not to leave until we had assurances of Muhammad’s release. This stand-off created an opportunities for international participants to engage in dialogue with the soldiers who some of them seemed to truly not know what was going on, but the soldiers were continuously given orders (sometimes in harsh language) by their commanders not to talk with the activists, but I am sure they listened.

After a long time of protesting his arrest and refusing to yield to the Israeli army threats, that same “new” Commander came back to us with a guarantee and a promise that if we ended the protest they will release him within the hour…

While the Palestinians have lost trust in any promise or word given by such figures, the commander put himself in a position where he can show (at least to our visitors and the international press) that maybe there is some human dignity deep inside him and he can make a promise and keep it. While I truly was hoping for that, Muhammad in still in prison and today is the fourth day…

I wonder if this same commander will be in next week’s demonstration and I wonder what promise he will make then or maybe today he thought it was April 1st not Friday the 13th!

Southern Bethlehem Friday the 13th 2007Southern Bethlehem Friday the 13th 2007

Southern Bethlehem Friday the 13th 2007

Southern Bethlehem Friday the 13th 2007

Southern Bethlehem Friday the 13th 2007

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15 thoughts on “Palestinian Nonviolent Protests Continue… Israeli Violent Reaction Increases

  1. Jean-marie MULLER

    Mon cher ami Sami,
    C’est avec beaucoup d’émotion que je viens de lire le compte rendu de la manisfestation non-violente que vous avez organiser ce dernier mardi pour protester conttre la construction du mur de l’aparthied…
    je tiens à t’exprimer, ainsi qu’à tous tes compagnons, yout la solidarité et toute mon admiration pour votre engagement en faveur de la justice, de la liberté et de la paix…
    Dans l’espérance de la non-violence…
    je t’embrasse fraternellement
    Jean-Marie

  2. My heart cry in joy and sadness, in joy when seeing your work and in sadness when the army took the young leader. I am glad this on the net and I do hope that many people will be able to see it and do somthing about it.

    With all respects to Holy Land Trust staff and leaders.

  3. Michael Westmoreland-White

    I’ll link to this on http://levellers.wordpress.com, Sami. Next week, 23-28 July, is the summer conference of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. We always keep Palestine-Israel in view and are very aware that DURING last year’s meeting, the Israeli-Lebanon war began. I will make sure the actions of Holy Land Trust are highlighted throughout the week.

  4. Pingback: From the West Bank: Friday Nonviolent Protests Continue/Israeli Violence Increases « Levellers

  5. Marie-Paule

    Sami, How could you ever trust their word about anything ??? In sixty years they have lied about everything on earth !!!
    I am always deeply touched, moved and proud of your never ending determination. You will win !

  6. Michael Beer

    This video makes use of music in a similar way as Al Quaeda allies make musical videos of their attacks/killings. We need more efforts to glorify/praise nonviolent struggle to counter the glorification of violence we see so frequently. The music was beautiful. Keep up the great work.

  7. Pete Gasser

    Stay strong Sami! Your non-violent demonstrations will eventually get the word out to the rest of the world as to the situation at hand. God Bless!!

  8. Dear Sami and all,

    Our hearts and deepest solidarity go out to you. There is not a shadow of a doubt that your efforts and sacrifice are having a desired effect. Perhaps — inshallah — they will tilt the balance toward a sane resolution in the current possibility for change that appears to have opened up. But regardless of the political results, you have done well and inspired many. We salute you.

  9. Michel Monod

    Congratulations for this wonderful testimony of non-violence. Just to prove that non violence is not passivity but active resistance and moral victory over the violent liers.

  10. CJL

    I add my non-violent protest, hoping that the World will understand soon that ‘Israel’ is the terrorist occupier and should stop its violence, totally evacuate the West Bank(including East Jerusalem) and Gaza (which it pretends to have left), release the 10,000+ prisoners and allow the repatriation of the refugees. How can anyone with any common sense recognize a state built on the destruction of another country, “Palestine-which-did-not-exist”?

  11. Montse

    Hi. I was in Bethlehem from the 1st to the 15th July and I’ve got the experience of non-violence demonstrations. All the good work Holy Land Trust is developing impressed me and I’m very proud because I had the opportunity of meeting all of you. I hope you don’t mind I put this video in my blog. So people from Catalonia is going to watch the images. I’m sad because the leader was arrested. I hope he has been released and without harm. Since I’ve come back to Catalonia I keep the Palestinian people in my mind and in my prayers. A big embrace from Catalonia to everybody: Holy Land Trust and others.

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