Saturday, January 01, 2011

Security Barrier in Judea-Samaria

Nadene GoldfootA security barrier is up in the Judea-Samaria area near the 1,800 populated Arab village of Bil'in, which lies 7 miles from Ramalla in the center of Judea-Samaria. The Arabs held a demonstration-rally consisting of about 1,000 people. Some people crossed the barrier and put the Palestinian flag on top of the IDF outpost while others broke apart a 30 meter section of the fence. Then the crowd became very rowdy and hurled stones at the IDF. They had been allowing a non-violent protest to continue up to this point. When it became very dangerous with stones flying, the IDF fired tear gas into the crowd. In this crowd was the Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad, Mustafa Barghouti and Nabil Shaath, most likely instigating the crowd. If they weren't helping to cause the uproar, the crowd could have been showing off because of their presence.
The village lies next to the barrier and the ancient Jewish town of Modi'in, well known in history in the Chanukah story. Bil'in happens to be the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, a stronghold of Fatah. No wonder that many Fatah heads were in attendence. The beef the people have is that the barrier separates the village from 60% of its farmland, so they have had to create a different path to get to their crops.

Since 2005 they have held weekly protests where they arrive wearing gas masks while chanting obscenities at the soldiers such as calling them fascists. This demonstration always drew buses of tourists to watch. They put on quite a show.

Since March 15, 2010, the IDF closed the area, calling it a military zone which kept spectators out from 0800 til 2000 on Fridays when protests would commence. It was not closed to the Arabs.

Jawher Abu Rahma, 36 year old woman, inhaled the fumes, stumbled and fell. She was taken to the hospital where she died. Evidently she had said that she wanted to be a martyr, and it came true. She died like several brothers before her. Her body was wrapped in the Palestinian flag and 3,000 mourners followed her body to burial.
The problem in keeping demonstrations peaceful is that they never stay that way. People in the Middle East can become very worked up and excitable, which is what happened. They turn into a dangerous situation. If people were peaceful in the first place, a security barrier would not be thought of or necessary to put up. This tells you something of the situation here.
There was a follow-up protest in Tel Aviv with about 200 in attendance. Israel has asked for a medical report but it has been refused. Palestinians are calling this a war crime.
Breaking the barrier is quite costly. This will cost hundreds of thousands of NIS to repair.

No comments: