Women in Bastan Village, Kurdistan

Saturday, November 20, 2010

OUR Struggle for the Land--112010, Beit Ommar, West Bank

I am now in Beit Ommar, on the southern West Bank, between Bethlehem and Hebron. I came here to spend my last week on the West Bank before leaving the country. I am staying and volunteering with the Palestine Solidarity Project, a Palestinian project dedicated to opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land through non-violent direct action. It was founded in the village of Beit Ommar in the Southern West Bank during the Summer of 2006. I was here last January and learned about their situation and the non-violent resistance to their land's occupation. Beit Ommar and the adjacent Saffa valley have recently witnessed a tide of suppression by Israeli soldiers.

Today there was a peaceful demonstration against Karmei Tsur, an illegal Israeli settlement built on Beit Ommar land. Five people were arrested including one 8-year-old Palestinian boy, two internationals volunteering with P.S.P., and three Israeli solidarity activists were arrested by Israeli Forces during

Around two dozen Israeli soldiers and border police blocked the path of the demonstrators, we sat on the ground, chanted against the occupation, and made speeches on the injustice of denying Palestinians access to their own land.

After half an hour of peaceful demonstration, one of the soldiers, apparently the commander, lost its patience when a group of small kids, who were not scared or intimidated by the Israeli soldiers, moved closer to confront them. The soldier pushed one of the kids and the hell got loose.

The protesters came to the front to defend the kid and the soldiers responded by trying to arrest demonstrators. Later they started firing sound bombs to disperse the crowd.

I was previously trained on what will was likely to happen, so I knew what to expect, but still was very confused and was running and trying to cover my ears to protect myself from the bombs. Everything happened really fast and now I try to reconstruct things but I can't really tell what came before and what after. I know that we tried to reach the small kid to prevent the soldiers from arresting him and they were holding me and other girl and didn't let us get to him. He was about 8-10 years. It was really scary, especially, the sound bombs, because I felt that they were going to hit me. So I was running as fast as I could away from them, but also looking back to see that I was running in the right direction.

We came back to face the soldiers and stand in solidarity with those arrested. We were then repeatedly shot with tear gas and chased up the road to the village.

Last Thursday, November 18th, thirteen Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists were arrested accompanying farmers to their land in the Saffa valley, near the illegal Bat Ayn settlement. Tomorro,w I am going to accompany the farmers to Saffa, and I will get to experience one more day deep into the struggle

1 comment:

  1. Wow girl, you really are deep in the struggle. I hope you are are growing and learning and can bring back some insight on how we can help the people of Palestine and Israel. I wish the best for the little boy and his family. You are doing great work Johanna, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm so proud of you.