America’s Part in “5 Broken Cameras”

The Palestinian-Israeli-French production of “5 Broken Cameras” is a 2011 documentary film co-directed by Palestinian Emad Burnat and Israeli Guy Davidi.

“5 Broken Cameras” is also an Oscar contender for best documentary and an eyewitness account of non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village that has been encroached upon by Israeli-only settlements [all the settlements are illegal under international law] and was shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer, Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 and four follow.

Official Clip

This film was also made possible by America’s collusion in Israel’s military occupation of Palestine.

Because of two Anarchists Against the Wall I was inspired to visit Bil’in after attending their Power-Point program in Gainesville, Florida on November 14, 2005.

Palestinian Ayed Morrar and Israeli Jonathon Pollak explained how the Palestinian led and internationally supported Anarchists Against the Wall organization utilizes creative nonviolence against Israel’s military occupation and route of The Wall where ever it is not on the Green Line.

Ayed Morrar told how The Wall was moved off of his property in the West Bank village of Budrus because persistent farmers, women and children stood up with nothing more than their bodies to USA made Caterpillar bulldozers and Israeli Forces who assaulted them with Billy-clubs and caustic tear gas that can cause spasticity for weeks and has also lead to death.

The people of Budrus chanted in English “WE CAN DO IT” as Israeli forces responded with rubber-coated bullets and live ammo; but today in Budrus, The Wall is on the GREEN LINE.

Jonathon Pollak spoke about Bil’in:

“Although Israel marketed the Wall as a security barrier, logic suggests such a barrier would be as short and straight as possible. Instead, it snakes deep inside the West Bank, resulting in a route that is twice as long as the Green Line, the internationally recognized border.

“Israel chose the Wall’s path in order to dispossess Palestinians of the maximum land and water, to preserve as many Israeli settlements as possible, and to unilaterally determine a border.

“In order to build the Wall Israel is uprooting tens of thousands of ancient olive trees that for many Palestinians are also the last resource to provide food for their children. The Wall also threatens the Palestinian aspiration for an independent state, as it isolates villages from their mother cities and divides the West Bank into disconnected cantons [bantusans/ghettos].

“The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem conservatively estimates that 500,000 Palestinians are negatively impacted by the Wall.

“We believe that, as with Apartheid South Africa, Americans have a vital role to play in ending Israeli occupation – by divesting from companies that support Israeli occupation, boycotting Israeli products, coming to Palestine as witnesses, or standing with Palestinians in nonviolent resistance.” [1]

One of the chants I learned during one of my four visits to the agricultural village of Bilin, is “The wall will fall in Bilin; the wall will fall like in Berlin”.

In Bilin, the Green Line is five miles from the separation barrier and for the last five years every Friday afternoon after prayers at the mosque, Palestinians and growing numbers of Israelis and Internationals have been waging a nonviolent solidarity march in resistance to the route of the construction of Israel’s Wall-which in Bilin is twenty feet high of wire fencing that denies the farmers access to their olive groves.

Beginning in 2005 every Friday afternoon in Bil’in, locals, internationals and Israelis of conscience have endured tear gas, rubber bullets, sound bombs and other means of ‘crowd dispersal’ inflicted upon them by Israeli forces in ever escalating force.

During my first visit in January 2006, the Israeli forces targeted only the activists who ran down the hill along side of the fence, but in June 2009, just as the front of the crowd neared the area of descent- another gate and more barbed wire had been erected in front of it –and the Israeli forces assaulted us immediately with tear gas as we approached.

Mohammed Khatib has been targeted, arrested, severely beaten and threatened with death by the Israeli forces. In 2005, Khatib was inspired to erect the first ‘outpost’ a 10X10 brick edifice just yards away from where 700 upscale Jewish only apartments were being built on legally owned Palestinian property in Bil’in.

Many of the activists I spoke to in January 2006 at the outpost in Bil’in were American:

Iyad Bornat, Head of the Popular Committee told me, “A few weeks ago we brought in a caravan [house trailer] on our land close to where the settler’s apartments are being built. While we were inside the Israeli Forces sawed the door open and pulled us out and roughed us up. So, we brought in another caravan and during the night we built a concrete brick building within four hours to resist the wall and occupation.

“People come and go; they are from all over the world. They support our nonviolently resisting the wall that is clearly stealing our land. This wall and the Israeli forces are not allowing us onto our land to care for our olive trees. They confiscated our land and impose military law upon us and claim we are trespassing on our legally owned land.”

Abdullah, the Coordinator of Against The Wall in Billin informed me that as of January 2006, 1,600 residents of Billin who legally own 4,000 dunums of property had 2,003 dunums of it confiscated by Israel to build the Jewish only apartments upon which Palestinians are not even allowed to approach.

A twenty year old from Indiana who was studying Middle East Foreign Policy in Jerusalem and had spent her weekends at the outpost in Bilin since it was constructed illuminated me, “We are fighting an important struggle. If America would only learn the truth about what is happening here, they would stop their blind support of the Israeli government that denies people basic human rights.”

An Israeli activist added, “This cause is very important to me because this is the only way to struggle. This is our only chance to bring back the popular Intifada: a chance for women and children to nonviolently resist the wall and occupation.”

A member of the Popular Committee in Bilin who taught Social Work and Psychology at El Quds Open University, told me that he was shot and jailed for two weeks because of his nonviolent resistant activities, “The Judge said he would investigate the soldier who shot me, but the soldier lied and denied he shot and the matter was quickly forgotten by the Israelis.

“Three weeks ago we could not come in here, but when the court admitted the settlement buildings were illegal we put the caravan on the property and when the IDF destroyed that, we built this room. Ever since, more and more Israelis, Lawyers, Sheiks, women and children come and stand with us in solidarity for human rights. Rachel Corrie’s family has been here too.”

The outpost was demolished long ago and the village has also worked their case through Municipal courts to the Israeli Supreme Court.

Both ordered Israel to stop building, to move the fence and also restore about half of the 575 acres of olive groves back to the Bilin’s farmers.

May “5 Broken Cameras” inspire many Americans to join the struggle of Bilin, until that wall falls like the wall fell in Berlin.

5 BROKEN CAMERAS in FULL

 

 

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