I am sitting in my favorite coffee shop, on what I have come to think of as “my couch”. I came here this AM to work on the curriculum for a Nonviolent Peaceforce training and the agenda for an upcoming MPT training. But, I made the mistake of checking email- or more to the point watching a video sent to me.
See, Michigan Peace Team has been doing work in occupied Palestine for some time now. (I’ve posted some, and I’ll post more or better yet – check the website: http://www.michiganpeaceteam.com ) and one of the things that teams consistently come home talking about is the village of Bi’lin. The strength of spirit, bravery and commitment to nonviolence embodied in the resistance movement there is an inspiration and hope.
Wednesday we got word that some of the Palestinians we have worked with there had been attacked by Israeli settlers and badly beaten. I checked email to see if there was word on how they are doing, and watched the videos below.
The footage Emad managed to get before he was attacked and his camera broken:
I am sad, I am angry. I feel sick to my stomach. Of course, this violence is nothing new in occupied Palestine. Palestinians have been living under a brutal occupation and struggling against ethnic cleansing at the hands of the state of Israel for years – nonviolent resisters are beaten in the west bank, while Gaza is strangled and starving.
But that is just it. This is not new. This is going on now and has been going on and most of the world condones it by staying silent. I want to say something hopeful. I believe this can be changed. And if folks like Mohammed, Abdullah, and Emad and the other Palestinian and Israeli justice activists we have been honored to stand with have not lost hope how can I. So, I will post more later – or in a few days. But for right now, I’m just sad, and angry, and sick… and I got nothin’
from the email MPT received…
What is underreported about the incident that took place in Bil’in Wensday evening is the nonviolent tactics used by Abdullah Abu Rahme and Mohammed Khatib from the popular committee. First they got under the carvan that was being lowered by the crane and told the settlers that they would have to lower it over their bodies . Some settlers were telling the driver to do so. The settlers attacked them that and then went for Emad when they realized they were being filmed after beating Emad and breaking his camera and threatening to shoot him, he escaped and managed to save the tape that you can see above. The settlers then proceeded to beat Abdullah and Mohammad from under the caravan, a process that took a long time as whenever they focused on one the other would stay under the caravan.
After they were beaten from underneath it and the driver put it down (committing an offense under Israeli law) Abdullah and Mohammed who were laying bleeding on the ground crawled under the wheels of the crane to stop it from leaving the area! The settlers then stoned them and threw dirt at them to get them out the police arrived, two hours after they were notified by the villagers of the caravan’s being placed (when the villagers placed a caravan on their own land they were there within 15 minutes.) But instead of arresting the driver they let him leave the area. They also refused to arrest the attackers or to allow the wounded Palestinians to get treatment at an Israeli hospital forcing them to wait wounded 45 minutes at the checkpoint until a Palestinian ambulance arrived. The caravans were removed early this morning no doubt thanks to the attention generated by their nonviolent actions.
PS. if anybody could subtitle a translation of Emad’s footage that would be great. While they are beating Mohammad, he has his arms spread open. He is saying “go ahead – beat me – kill me – go ahead” …
watch and post it