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Beit jala: bullets against the demo

The activists and pacifists demonstration who wanted to visit houses occupied by israeli army has been charged with rifle shots from IDF tanks.
At 3:00 p.m. italian activists from the National Committee in support of Intifada and from Indymedia Italia,
frech and swiss from GIPP, and internationals from International Solidarity Movement gathered in front of the Star Hotel to
start a small demo directed to Beit Jala to visit houses occupied by israeli army and to bring solidarity to the palestinian people.
Around 100 people headed for Beit Jala; the athmosphere in Bethelem was ominous.
Two bus from Action for Peace activists with a MP reaching us were stopped and this was a bad sign from IDF.
Following the sound of a Clarinet and of hands clapping we moved on a steep to Beit Jala village.
"Stop the Occupation", "Sharon you will see palestina will be free" the slogan chanted while climbing up.
We arrived at the point where two days ago we met the tanks and the road was empty.
We continued toward the houses with the snipers, in front of which we know the tanks are parked,
to try to bring solidarity to the palestinians isolated there.
At this point arrived a tank in front of us. In the gun-turret a soldier about 20-25 years old looked at us coldly.
He was cold as someone knowing what he has to do and that it is normal routine in his life.
Group spokepersons got closer to negotiate the possibility to fo further.

Immediately started the first burst one meter from their foot. They weren't platic bullets.
They were real bullets. They hurt. People didn't panic, they group and try to send the negotiators forth again.
Machine-gun burst gave no possible further discussion. We started to drew back slowly to avoid panic and
situations of more dangerous chaos. Shots got more and more frequent and near. I saw a shot hitting athe road at
10 cm from a man ankle. I saw shots hitting walls. I sae shots toward videocams and cameras. The tank moves forward.
The most of the people accelerated their pace while two rows drew back slowly.
Soldiers continued to shoot against us. Some of us remained blocked in a lateral alley behind a small gate, and despite
our claims we were obliged to let them escape into a house. A little bit later a shot reached the wall near me.
I felt a push over my sternum.

I think about it for a moment. I swear but I feel any pain, so I think it's alright.
I turn around and I see a girl going pale and turning, and she has fainted into M.'s arms.
Blood on her plush.
The hooter of ambulance.
On my opinion she will always be the first one who's been wounded.
i don't know if it really is.
I know that withdrawal relentless goes on for twenty slow minutes.
Little by little the tension loosens and we think just about when the tank at last will give up following us at a distance of two meters.
they will line the tanks at the same pace.

In a little lateral road a cameraman and a journalist try to go by car.
Soldiers don't agree e cover them with bursts under our powerless eyes, until they decide,
uninjured but terrorized, to go with the drawing back group.
At last a wide stretch. the tank stop.
A camera comes out the trapdoor.
From it a arm comes out, holding a camera.
As a memento photo for my mum, I shot one hundred more of people.
I'm so astonished that i can't take a photo to the scene.
At last we turn around, and go back to Bethelem.
We inquire about wounded: they're seven; one of them, the girl, in operating room.
She was beside me.
The others have little hurts caused by splinters and pebble that have been thrown here and there by the bullets.
We turn towards the centre "Ibdaa" to communicate.

For us now the occupation is a more vivid reality. As for thousands of palestinians every day. As the war.

You can't just stay and look.

April, 01 2002
Bethelem
Palestina
 
 

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