Today Bil’in commemorated the fifth anniversary of popular demonstrations against the settlements and the Apartheid Wall. Israel’s occupation has confiscated over 50% of Bil’in’s land. Only last week the construction work to reroute the Wall began, nearly two and a half years after the High Court of Justice ordered the Wall to be moved. Approximately 30% of land will be returned to the village. This victory strengthens Bil’in’s resistance and counterbalances the hardships the Israeli Occupation Army has inflicted upon the village. Throughout the past five years, Bil’in’s non-violent demonstrations have met with severe army violence, injuring over 1,200 people and killing one person. Another 85 villagers have been arrested for organizing or merely taking part in the demonstrations. The Israeli Occupation Army terrorizes the entire village, entering Bil’in at night, often using sound bombs and tear gas. It not only deprives villagers of their sleep but also prevents children from having a normal, peaceful home life.Today’s mass demonstration counted over 3000 activists who supported Bil’in’s resistance and encouraged the villagers to continue its struggle. Among them were Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad and Remy Pagany, the mayor of Geneva. Other politicians were present to show support, such as members of the Legislative Council and Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The massive crowd of demonstrators held banners, Palestinian flags and chanted slogans, accompanied by drums and dancing clowns while marching towards the Apartheid Wall. Altogether they called for national unity and resistance against Israel’s occupation.
Upon arrival at the Wall, the Israeli Occupation Forces seemed to be absent, which was an open invitation for the demonstrators to cross the gate towards the Palestinian land. The crowd started tearing down the Wall, allowing some of the protesters to get access to the military outpost. Suddenly, the crowd was attacked with spraying skunk water, a chemical smelling like sewage water. Afterwards vast amounts of tear gas canisters, both plastic and aluminium, were fired and sound bombs were shot. Dozens of people suffered from tear gas inhalation and at least ten people were directly injured by the canisters.