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Peretz changes Israel agenda, Bil'in struggle

Peretz changes Israeli agenda-Bil'in struggle getting critical

TOI-Billboard - November 11, 2005

The apparent preference for Shimon Peres as party leader expressed how little Labor Party members appreciated the younger generation contenders. Only at the last moment did they discover the outsider, the trade-unionist of Moroccan descent Amir Peretz. His clear stance for leaving the government, a social justice agenda accompanied by a promise of peace, turned out to be the winning ticket. And the vigorous attacks on him by the old guard did not hurt the man who seemed able to bring new sections of society to the Labor Party; they actually helped people to discover him in time.

So, while a week ago nobody yet expected it, suddenly the Israeli agenda has changed: early elections are now taken for granted, and the sharply increased poverty of the Sharon-Netanyahu-Peres years - always overshadowed by "the fight against terrorism" - overnight has become an issue. Amir Peretz is the first politician to bring home the decades-old slogan: money to the poor neighborhoods, not to the settlements. And the so-called consensus that Israel should take unilateral steps is broken: Peretz made clear that as Prime Minister he would immediately reopen negotations with the Palestinians.

background / views and beliefs / links to other articles and interviews

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A new opportunity for the left

By Yossi Sarid

(...) the day [isn't] far off that the regime will be changed here. Sooner or later, the public will be fed up with the swinish capitalism that throws out old people and children, and will be disgusted by the "Jewish state" that lost its head and Jewish heart.

On the day that Amir Peretz victory was announced, Bilins youngsters - the youngest 14 years old - who all were detained in nightly raids got months of imprisonment as well as 1000 shekel fines. The approximately $220 is a huge sum for their families on top of their being deprived of the income of their lands by the landhungry wall. The youths crime: participating in protest against the illegal wall. A week ago four Israelis - Adam Keller and three of the young Israeli Anarchists - were detained only a few hours after they had chained themselves to structures erected as part of the fence. But non-violent Palestinians that is dangerous; that might open the eyes of people and also in this week's Friday action, the army did everything to turn Bil'in's weekly non-violent protest into a stone-throwing affair.

Gush Shalom chairman Uri Avnery was today in Bil'in and reports:

"I was in the middle of the demo, less than a meter from the soldiers. I can testify with absolute certainty that there was no provocation whatsoever. Suddenly I was enveloped by a cloud of tear gas, tears streaming from my eyes and with a severe sensation of choking. Fortunately, I had brought with me an onion, which helped me to overcome the effects of the gas.

Village activists, together with 50 Israeli demonstrators and many international volunteers had prepared in the morning posters bearing the pictures of Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King and Rosie Parks, with "I Have a Dream" in Arabic, Hebrew and English. Other Posters declared: "We follow Arafat, Rabin, Gandhi and Mandela.

Masks of Arafat, who died exactly a year ago, as well as of Gandhi and Mandela, were also prepared..

The demonstration started on its way and was approaching the path of the Fence, when it was blocked by a large Border Guard unit. The demonstrators evaded the soldiers and reached the path, where a bulldozer was working at full speed. When they sat down in front of it, they were attacked by the soldiers, who shot stun grenades and dragged the sitting activists away.

It seems that the commander gave the order, hoping to put an end to the demonstration, which could have lasted for some more hours. Under a hail of tear gas, the demonstrators dispersed in the rock-strewn fields, tears streaming from their eyes, coughing and choking. A cameraman of Israeli TV doubled up on the ground, overcome by the gas.

Some of the village youths retaliated by throwing rocks on the soldiers and the scene looked like a battle-field, with the soldiers using rubber bullets and wounding dozens of people. According to the army, two soldiers were slightly wounded. In the evening, the army announced that the soldiers were attacked and were forced to react with tear gas. That is a blatant lie.

Full report with photos soon on

Read also:


Nine Palestinian Non-Violent Activists from Bil’in Sentenced

From Berlin to Bil'in, the Wall Will Fall

Bil'in demonstrators: 14-year-old hit by rubber bullet in the head

see also:

Three Cities Against the Wall show - Ramallah, Tel Aviv and New York

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