A Demonstration Against the Occcupation, at the village of Izbet Al-Tabib, 17.1.2014
The inhabitants of Izbet Al-Tabib decided to demonstrate against the occupation and the army’s violence following shooting incidents with tear-gas and concussion grenades being shot at their houses. The demonstration was supposed to be opposite the border-police base in Kalkilia, but when we arrived there it became apparent that it would take place in the area of the village.
The inhabitants of the village, together with demonstrators from abroad and a bunch of young friends from Kalkilia,waited in the demonstration tent. They had prepared two signboards in Hebrew and waited about 15 minutes for the arrival of a Palestinian television team. After a short welcoming speech we left the tent in a colorful procession with flags, signboards and a megaphone, towards the village access road . There a num
ber of Jeeps blocking the entrance/exit in the direction of road number 55 were waiting for us. The soldiers were standing in a
line opposite the demonstrators who approached them.
The procession’s approach towards the road put pressure on the assistant
battalion commander and it was important for him to push the demonstrators 10 meters back, out of fear that they would break- into the road. This angered the young men and for a moment it seemed as if there would be a flare-up when one of the soldiers
claimed that a young demonstrator had kicked him. A smoke grenade was primed, but the headman of the village together with the Israeli demonstrators calmed things down and luckily we were spared the inhalation of tear gas.
After this, a bunch of young men burst into an acrobatic display, while the demonstrators stood in two rows and cheered them on, with the soldiers among them. In the last part the demonstrators sat down on the road singing songs while the soldiers stood opposite them, and some of them busied themselves with clearing the blockage of the access road.
The battalion second-in-command announced over the radio that he requested that a closed military area decree be issued – the army’s ultimate solution when it doesn’t know what else to do. In general, it was clear that the soldiers don’t really know how to grapple with non-violent demonstrations, which somewhat deprive them of their control over the event, and prevent them from acting according to their usual methods.
B. told me at the end of the demonstration that the soldiers had told him that they
Intended to come back later in order to arrest his son. After I had said goodby to the inhabitants and was on my way out of the village, I saw a shielded vehicle travelling slowly towards the village while two jeeps partially blocked access road to the village. I was worried and said to the soldiers that I hoped that they were not going to punish the inhabitants and fire tear-gas at them because they had demonstrated. A young soldier stopped next to me and said “we only fire at terrorists”. I thought to myself that the inhabitants are not terrorists but (nevertheless) they had been fired on with tear-gas and concussion grenades.
Let’s hope that they enjoyed a quiet night . . . .
A link to photographs of the demonstration is attached below.
It is recommended to click onto the first photograph and to browse through the rest using the arrows on the keyboard.