As a BDS activist, whose main focus is cultural boycott, I’ve come up against a very common Israeli claim (individuals, small business, and government officials) that “culture has nothing to do with politics”. Most commonly it comes in the form of a puzzled “rhetorical” question: “What does culture have to do with politics?!” As if asking this question closes the discussion, because it’s so obvious that art, music, books, films, theater and dance are a pure form of entertainment that has no intellectual, political, anthropological value. As if cultural products aren’t bought and sold as commodities and status indicators.
Shuki Weiss Promotion and Production Ltd. in the Service of the State of Israel
Welcome to Palestine 2012 is already a huge success. Israel has already set up a welcoming committee, the only way a military regime meeting opposition knows how: As in last year’s Fly-in, hundreds of border patrol personnel and police officers will await the delegation. Detention facilities are already ready for 1500 children, women and men, expected to arrive in Ben Gurion Airport. But why tell when I can show? Here’s your typical, run of the mill article on Channel 1:
Across the West Bank, Friday was a day of protest against Israel’s blood diamonds, which are harvested while infringing on human rights in African countries and then polished in apartheid Israel and then exported. The diamond trade accounts for 30% of Israel’s total manufacturing exports:
Five paramedics (one of them [image to the left] a minor, the age of 15) and one member of the press- all marked with vests according to their duty, all residents of the village of Ni’lin- were arrested during the weekly demonstration. I later chanced upon the 6 at the Beit-El (settlement) police station. We managed to talk to them a bit and take some pictures before the guarding officer started yelling for the police to come and take us away. Anarchists Against the Wall Reported the following:
One of the soldiers punched the cameraman and a medic, and another threw a large rock at the a radio receiver belonging to the medics. The arrestees were taken to the Shaar Binyamin police station. Two of them were accused of assaulting the police, and four were released.
The latest report is that the remaining journalist and paramedic were both released, with no conditions.
The army, like a well oiled machine, attacked with chemical warfare, invaded the village to abduct an Al-Arabiya reporter, using a smoke screen canister that spits fire as well.
Fires sparked due to the combination of Middle Eastern heat and ammunition. About 20 olive trees were lost, as it took the fire truck about an hour to arrive and the army had to be begged to stop gassing us, so we could approach the burning areas. Video clips after the fold.
All across the protesting villages of the West Bank, the political intimidation is escalating with arrests of activists. There will be no footage from Bil’in, this week, as friend, fellow activist, B’tselem camera man and Bil’in resident, Haitham Al-Khatib was arested, yet again, while doing his job. (update 20.5.10: this week’s footage has been recovered and can be found here) Along with two fellow Bil’in residents, Al-Khatib was taken to Ofer prison, without even so much as an interrogation. The two Israeli activists and international activist were released at 20 past midnight, that night.
In Ni’lin, a bit of symbolic flag burning was quickly dispersed with chemical weapons.
Four people arrested in Bil’in. As you can tell by the video’s last few minutes, as friend and journalist, Tommy Donnellan, is being carried off, the army knows that he is of the press. What do you call it when the authorities arrest the press, again?
Friday in Bil’in, friend and fellow activist, Emad Rezqa was hit in the forehead by an aluminum tear gas projectile shot directly at him by Israeli soldiers during the weekly anti-Wall demonstration. He suffered a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage, and is currently hospitalized at the Hadassa Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem. The demonstration Rezqa was injured in concluded the three-day International Bil’in Conference on Popular Struggle, and was attended by hundreds of people. Several other demonstrators were injured from gas inhalation, direct hits by gas canisters, and falling
This is the man who fired the canisters:
I was later arrested along with Palestinian journalist Moheb Barghouti, two fellow Israelis and a Mexican activist, after staging a sit-in. (more details soon)