My blog doesn't pretend to stay up to date with events. I don't twitter, either. So for up-to-date news I send you to the indispensable coverage on the +972 magazine site, which blogs, twitters, and comments in real time, especially the excellent blogging and twittering by Joseph Dana, who is also the media coordinator for the Popular Struggle Committees.
On Friday, a big unarmed protest was planned at Bil'in. (Please visit its excellent website – you will get a good education there.) For six years there have been Friday protests, but the organizers made a special effort to draw crowds Friday, claiming that this was the last year in which the Separation Barrier – a.k.a, the Land-Grab Fence/Wall – would separate Bil'in from its lands. The Barrier there is illegal according to international law, and parts are illegal even according to the Israeli High Court, which, over three years ago, directed the state to change the route of the law – much to the consternation of the real-estate developers, builders, and owners of the apartments built on the Bil'in's land. Needless to say, the Barrier has not been moved, despite the court's ruling. This Is, after all, the Only Democracy in the Middle East.
You would think that after six years of unarmed protests, after killing 21 unarmed protesters, maiming permanently others, and wounding hundreds more – during which time not a single soldier has died or has been permanently injured – you would think that the Israel Defense Forces would learn how to allow and to control the protests. Ah, but that would assume that the purpose of the IDF and the Israeli government is to allow unarmed protests, rather than to crush the internationally embarrassing protests – in such a manner so as not to call down the wrath of the international community. So it does not gun down protesters en masse, although it has used rubber bullets, live ammunition, tear gas canisters fired from short range, etc.
In the forty-three years of occupations there have been hundreds of illegal protests by settlers. How many settlers have been killed by Israeli forces? How many settlers have been permanently maimed by Israeli forces? Of course, the IDF doesn't suppress most settler protests, since that is the task of the police – under the Israeli system of Hafradah (worse than apartheid), which provides one set of law enforcement for settlers and one for natives. But let's not be too easy on the police. Last night there was a protest in Tel Aviv where the police reportedly arrested and beat former Meretz member of the parliament, Musi Raz.
But back to Bil'in. The Abu Rahmah family saw one brother, Bassam, killed by the IDF, and now his sister, Jawaher. Another Abu Rahmah, Ashraf, made headlines when he was bound and shot at a close range with a rubber bullet by an IDF soldier, at the instruction of his commanding officer. The sentencing of the solider and his commander will be this week.
The so-called Separation Barrier has enriched real-estate developers, destroyed the lives of thousands of Palestinians, made life-hell for hundreds of thousands more – and there is no evidence that is has saved a single Israeli life. Had Israel wanted to protect its citizens living within its internationally recognized borders, it would have built the separation barrier within the Green Line. But protecting lives was never the purpose of the Separation Wall.
Destroying lives, gobbling up land, and preventing Palestinian self-determination are its real purposes