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At-Home with Gila Svirsky

21 June 2001
Subject: Again at al-Khader


I just got the report – from Liad Kantorowicz this time – about the demonstration late yesterday at al-Khader. My own capsule analysis of the event: Slightly less police violence and generally good media publicity.

The better publicity was due to the presence of Jose Bove, the French farmer who gained fame for damaging a McDonald’s restaurant to protest globalization. Bove joined the group at al-Khader because, in his words, “We farmers are protesting together with the Palestinian farmers to defend their land.” As a result, this morning’s Ha’aretz reported the event, and Bove is holding a press conference today, which should lead to more reports.

Liad says there were about 100-150 Palestinian villagers who demonstrated, together with about 20 Israelis and 30 internationals – twenty of them from Bove’s group. The activists had a very hard time reaching the village, because the army had closed off all the access roads. But the group found a way in, and although they were spotted and followed by Israeli soldiers, the events continued as planned.

The Palestinians, Israelis and internationals began to climb up the hill toward the settlers’ caravans placed on top, carrying signs that said “Stop the Israeli occupation” and “Settlers get out.” The police and army stopped their progress, but the protestors tried to push on. When this did not work, they began to set up a protest tent near the foot of the hill, but were impeded in their work by the “security forces.” And all of this is taking place on Palestinian land!

Finally the army lost patience and began to arrest those they considered the ringleaders, and released tear gas canisters and stun grenades into the crowd, when everyone dispersed.

Those arrested spent most of last night in jail, but were released even though they refused to sign any “conditions of release.” Arrestees: Jose Bove and two other French activists, Michael (Mikado) Warschawski and Sergio Yahni, both from the Alternative Information Center, Liad Kantorowicz and Neta Golan, both from the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace, and Hweida, a US-Palestinian woman (sorry I don’t have her last name). We are all relieved to hear that no one was seriously injured, although several activists were struck by police clubs. Neta’s arm, in a cast, was well protected.

We’ll keep you informed.

Gila Svirsky

At-Home with Gila Svirsky

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© 2001 Gila Svirsky.

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