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Bil'in Conference, Demonstration Against the Wall

by david parker

Mohammad Khatib of the Bil'in Popular Committee gives an opening statement at the Fifth Annual Bil'in International Conference on Palestinian Popular Resistance.
A member of the Jordan Valley Popular Committee greets delegates of the Bil'in conference in Al-Jeftlek, Jordan Valley. Israel controls all access to the water in the area, growing vast palm plantations in the West Bank. Local Palestinians are allowed 10 hours of running water per week.
Bil'in village comemmorated one year since the death of Bassem Abu Rahmeh, a villager killed by Israeli Forces on April 17, 2009, by a high velocity tear gas canister during a peaceful demonstration. Bassem was known affectionately as 'Pheel', or, the elephant.
Women villagers from Bil'in and international supporters join together leading chants during the weekly Friday rally.
A Bil'in villager puts a plastic bag over her head to avoid tear gas inhalation during the weekly protest.
Palestinian Imad Rezka was hit with a tear gas projectile, suffering a fractured skull and internal bleeding. Five activists were also arrested, including one international supporter.
High velocity tear gas canisters land within meters of demonstrators, journalists, and villagers.
Israeli forces shoot multiple volleys of tear gas into the demonstration, as well as rubber coated steel bullets, and shock grenades.
Israeli forces spread out along the 'security barrier', also known as the 'apartheid wall', shooting volleys of tear gas towards the protest from the west and north.

(summary from IMEMC News, Ghassan Bannoura)

The Fifth Bil’in International Conference for Palestinian Popular Resistance,  April 21-23, welcomed a full line-up of speakers including politicians, leaders of Popular Committees, Israeli activists, and international solidarity activists.

After the final conference session on Friday morning, in which workshop groups reported on their conclusions in preparation for the conference statement, the conference participants gathered with scores of other Israeli, international, and Palestinians waiting for the weekly demonstration.

Several serious injuries were sustained. Imad Rizka, 37 years old , from Yaffa, was shot in the forehead with a tear gas canister. He was taken away immediately to Ramallah Hospital by ambulance.

Soldiers fired a great deal of tear gas from both sides of the fence. Demonstrators were forced to retreat, but among those who remained, several were arrested. Soldiers crossed the fence and advanced well into village and detained five people among them one local journalist.

Additional injuries are as follows:

One demonstrator from Italy, struck in the back by a tear gas canister; an Italian demonstrator who was shot in the arm with a new type of weapon; an Israeli activist; Um Samarra, 45, from Bil’in, who was hit in the leg by a tear gas canister; Haitham al-Khatib, cameraman, who was slightly injured; a Palestinian woman from Bethlehem who sustained a leg injury; and a Palestinian journalist named Abbas al-Momni.

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david parker (David Parker)
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Member since September 2008

About:

I'm the Spoken Word Coordinator at CKDU 88.1 FM campus community radio in Halifax. I coordinate the CKDU News Collective and host a weekly hour-long radio show called Resistance Radio, Tuesdays at 5:30 PM, and the Thursday edition of Operation Wake Up!, (monday to friday, 8 am to 9 am), both on CKDU. I'm also involved in Project Accompaniment and Solidarity Colombia (PASC) as an international accompanier and a member of People's Global Action - Montreal.

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