“This is terrible what's happening here to the Palestinians. They're suffering so much — and they can't even have a voice to nonviolently protest against what's happening to them. It's a disgrace, it's a disgrace what's happening to the Palestinians”, said Mairead Maguire, a Nobel Peace Prize winner from Northern Ireland, after she was shot in the leg by a rubber bullet fired by Israeli military forces. She was just one of hundreds of internationals who joined with Israelis and Palestinians at the weekly non-violent demonstration at the site of the Israeli Annexation Wall in Bil'in village, in the northern part of the West Bank.
As usual, the demonstrators were met by dozens of Israeli soldiers firing tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets at the half international, half Palestinian non-violent demonstrators. Many participants were hit directly by rubber-coated metal bullets and heavily tear gassed, and twenty-two had to be taken away in an ambulance for treatment.
Another international peace activist, Alberto de Jesus, also known as Tito Kayak, performed an incredible non-violent stunt at the demonstration. Despite Israel’s tight security, he managed to scale a 100 meter Israeli communications tower and unfurl the Palestinian flag at the Bilin wall. At the time of this report, he is still sitting up there, with Israeli soldiers waiting for him down below.
Tito is a well-known activist for Puerto Rican independence. In the year 2000, in a widely publicized stunt, he climbed the statue of liberty in New York and unfurled a Puerto Rican flag.
The protest Friday took place after a three-day International Conference on Popular Resistance was held in the heart of the village of Bil’in.
The three-day conference was attended by many prominent activists and leaders, including Nasser Al-Kidweh, a senior Palestinian official representing the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. the Vice president of the European Parliament Luisa Morgantini, French Parliament member Jean-Claude Lefort, Eyad Burnat, member of the Bilin Popular Committee Against the Wall, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, the Palestinian Minister of Information, Ilan Pappe, the Israeli historian, and many, many others.
The Bilin conference was sponsored by NOVA, a Spanish organization calling for social change through the Spanish Cooperation Agency in Palestine. The village of Bilin has been resisting the construction of the wall on their land for the past two years with ongoing weekly nonviolent actions.