On August 11th, 2006, at a little past 1 PM, around 400 people were marching in a peaceful protest towards the wall in Bil’in, the outskirts of Ramallah. International Solidarity Movement activists, Palestinians, and Israeli Anarchist Activists all join together in this weekly march to the wall in Bil’in. Soldiers surprised us by meeting us half way, they were aggressively stationed inside the village, outside Palestinian homes. Close to 30 feet away from the soldiers they began pouring sound grenades at the non violent demonstration. Our theme was “Israel’s new style of killing”; we carried mock bodies of a dead family, a mother, father, and 3 children including a toddler. This represented Israel’s indiscriminate way of massacring entire families.
The only people that reached the soldiers were the press, and although we had not reached them yet, and no stone throwers were present, the soldiers immediately targeted us. The commander, Majid, an Israeli Druze, demanded us to leave stating that Israel is in a time of war, and NO DEMONSTRATIONS ARE ALLOWED! However, he screamed this on a loudspeaker in Hebrew, which Palestinians and Internationals alike failed to understand. Limor Goldstein, among the majority of the 400 protesters were separated from us. The only ones that remained near the soldiers were the front liners of ISM, Israeli Anarchists, and the Popular Committee of Bil’in, which consisted of 3 Internationals, 3 Israeli activists, and 6 Palestinian activists. My husband Mansour Mansour and I were in the front line, like every Friday. The demonstrators that retreated out of fear of the sound bombs did precisely what the soldiers wanted, they dispersed to the back. The soldiers were successful in separating the crowd. In ISM training I try to stress the importance of remaining together, however fear overcomes logic. The fact that we were separated put some people in danger. The ones that spread and ran out of fear were in the direct range of rubber bullet fire.
Among the ones in the front line we sustain baton beatings, but do not get shot by rubber bullets, we do not get tear gassed, and we do not get sound bombs thrown at us. This is only since we are literally right near the soldiers and they don’t shoot at themselves or their fellow soldiers.
We get tear gas and sound bombs when we retreat from the soldiers or before we arrive to the soldiers. So I try to stress the importance of people to stay near the soldiers and sustain at least the beatings.
Limor was in the middle group, the majority of people that fled remained in that critical spot. This group sustained all the rubber bullet wounds, injuries from shrapnel via sound bombs, and excessive amounts of tear gas inhalation. Limor had his back turned, and was retreating slowly, not fearful of the danger he was in. A soldier ran up to him from a 5-10 meter range and shot him to the side. A cylindrical canister device is attached to an M16 which then fires dozens of rubber bullets. At the illegal close distance at which he was shot the bullets did not spread apart, 2 hit him in the head, and one in the neck. His wound in his neck was swollen to the size of a golf ball, his head was bleeding heavily where the 2 rubber bullets entered near his temple area. Israeli Anarchists bandaged him up as quickly as they could.
19 People were injured, 9 sustained wounds from rubber bullets. And the 10 remainder from a series of injuries ranging from shrapnel wounds and beatings.
Later we were informed by Doctors that one bullet entered Limor’s skull fracturing it and lodged itself in his brain causing severe damage. The result would mean he would be either permanently paralyzed or blind.
Just now we got a phone call from another Israeli Anarchist, Yossi, who said that Limor has woken up from his surgery to remove his bullet and was able to see but not too clearly. We are waiting on word whether he can move his legs.
We were informed as well that Rena an activist with ISM who suffered blows from the soldiers with the butt of their guns was admitted into the hospital today one day after the incident with a concussion.
Please pray for Limor and Rena our comrades in the struggle against the illegal occupation of Palestine!
None of us are safe, we are all in danger of a similar incident. I appeal to all activists to do something! Join our efforts to end the discriminative assaults of the Israeli Occupation Soldiers.
Iman Hammad is a student at the University of Houston studying Political Science. She is currently dedicated to the struggle for the Palestinian cause. She is involved with the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine where she met her husband Mansour Mansour, coordinator of the ISM. On July 14th, 2006 they were wed at the Apartheid Wall in Bil’in.