Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Chapeau Bas

After three years of struggle, the village of Bil'in in the West Bank has won its fight against the 'security' fence that was stealing its lands for a yet-unbuilt settlement. In three years of weekly demonstrations involving Israeli and International supporters, the Bil'in village committee has proved itself among the most imaginative, resourceful and inspiring non-violent direct action campaigners in the world. They staged their resistance-performances every Friday, tirelessly, to an unappreciative audience of teargas-bomb squads. Actions included setting up a settler-style outpost; squatting empty houses in the nearby settlement; barricading in a cage with a goat on the route of the fence; a piano recital and more. (This is my account of one action, two years ago).

Today the Israeli Supreme Court declared the route of the fence illegal. On the overall schema of things, this small victory may seem insignificant. There are a thousand more defeated Bil'ins in the West Bank and Gaza, a million more defeated Bil'ins in the world. But for me, the real victory, and the one that should serve as example, is the Bil'in demonstrators ability to maintain their resolve, creativity and humanity in the last three years. Bravo.

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