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Friday, January 02, 2004

Pro-Israel propaganda typically presents the image that the entire Israeli population and Jewish diaspora are united behind the country's policies within the occupied territories. This, of course, is completely untrue. Last Friday (26/12/03) Gil Na'amati, an Israeli anarchist demonstrating against the "Separation Wall" being constructed around the West Bank, was injured by Israeli soldiers firing live bullets at him. The young kibutznik, who only recently finished his military service, was eventually taken to hospital where he was operated on.

Some 200 furious fellow activists organised a demonstration outside Tel-Aviv's Defence Ministry the following evening and proceeded to block the road. According to David Merhav's report of the event, the demonstration included former MP Uri Avnery, Attorney Leah Tzemel, Michel Warshavsky (Alternative Information Center), Ran Cohen MP (Meretz) and the historian Teddy Katz, as well as Oren Medicks and Nimrod Kerrett who both been heavily involved in the anti-Wall protest and the Masha camp. Groups present represented a wide political spectrum and included Anarchists Against The Wall, the anti-militaristic New Profile organization, Gush Shalom, the LGBT militant group Kvisa Schora (Black Laundry), youth from the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality and the Israeli Communist Youth League. Some demonstrators apparently even chanted "for Zionism".

According to Gush Shalom, the police arrived with limited numbers and proceeded to arrest eleven demonstrators, among them David Tartakover, graphic artist and laureate of the prestigious Israel Prize. However the others continued their demonstration. Gush Shalom's report of the event continues,
A slight rain fell from time to time, but the demonstrators did not budge. At last the police car with the prisoners started to move a great speed, threatening to overrun the people crowding around it. One activist, 16 years old Matan Cohen, was wounded in the abdomen and removed by an ambulance, who could not reach him for 20 minutes. When the police promised to release the prisoners after the peaceful dispersion of the demonstration, the activists decided to march en bloc to the police station to make sure that the detained people were actually released.
This show of force by the Israeli Left/anti-occupation movement is a positive sign in a conflict which seems so negative. Much of the international movement opposed to the Israeli occupation has fallen into the trap of seeing Israel as a homogenous entity lacking any internal dissent, thereby cutting themselves of from potentially very important allies, who would benefit greatly from our support.

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