Monday, 3 December 2007
Openmedia Film on Palestinian village 'Bil'in Habibti'
Today's film was in MR1 instead of the larger council chambers. It was about a Palestinian village called Bilin which is being divided by the Israel security/separation wall, presumably for security but even under Israeli law its illegal settlements for purpose of real estate by wealthy canadians, finally after 3 years litigation the supreme court in Jerusalem ruled that the wall is illegal and has to be pushed back to the green line (1967 borders), thats a major victory.
The film was taken by an Israeli peace activist named Shai who joined peaceful Palestinian village demonstrations, got arrested so many times etc. The soldiers were even Israeli Druid arabs who spoke Hebrew. The village action committee had new ideas for peaceful demonstrations such as putting themselves in cage, having a caravan on the property, shit balloons, moving leaflets about peace in hebrew distributed to army soldiers, disabled people's demonstration, poems about the olive trees thast were replanted and soon dried up, the Israeli army commander also had some sympathy and talked to them and the army was restrained in it at least didnt fire live bullets although it did try our weapons like loud siren and salt pellets that damaged skin temporarily and caused lot of pain. It showed Israeli media coverage of this particular village which was exceptionally huge since the protest demonstrations lasted 4 years and joined by huge numbers of Israelis and international activists.
The best part was to have a real refusenik (Israeli former soldier who joined the peace demonstrations and refused to serve further) Elad Orian there, he gave many intersting tales about his experience, such as going for the first time with sniper mentality among palestinians shouting allah ho akbar, his experiences with army and how once arrested the soldiers could talk to him freely, how some sent secret text messages expressing support during the demonstration, how Israeli society has largely come to conclusion that the occupation isnt sustainable (mentality is something like ok one way or other lets keep palestinians out so build wall, or else their population grows and jewish majority cant exist) so peace movements has many supoorters so the film was also quite popular but its big step to actually be an activist supporting their cause, to be on the "other side".