Palestine resists austerity, repression and enclosure

IssueOctober 2012
News by David Polden

Since the beginning of September, Palestinians have regularly blocked roads in West Bank cities and held strikes, protesting at the high prices of basic necessities and the Palestinian authority’s neoliberal austerity policies, but also condemning the 1993 Oslo peace accords, particularly the ‘Paris protocol’ annex to the accords which preserves Israeli domination of the Palestinian economy.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Freedom Theatre co-founder Zakaria Zubeidi held a ‘death fast’ in September, refusing food and water. He had been detained without charge by the Palestinian authority since May, and he initiated the fast on 9 September. He paused after four days, ahead of a hearing on 17 September. At that hearing, a Palestinian judge extended his internment for another 19 days, and Zakaria announced he would resume the ‘death fast’.

Late on 19 September, Zakaria received high-level assurances from the administration that he would be released the following week, and he once again ended his fast. His fate was unknown as PN went to press.

Protests also continue against the Israeli separation wall. For example, weekly nonviolent protests are held in the West Bank village of Kufr Qaddou. On 17 August, a march by 250 residents and supporters against the separation wall enclosing the village was met by tear gas and rubber bullets. They were cleared from the road by an army bulldozer and Israeli soldiers then stormed the village, arresting six Palestinians, three Israelis and four internationals, severely beating some of them, breaking one journalist’s arm and another’s leg.

All were released after short interrogations except for two local youths who were taken to a detention centre.

On 14 September, protesters started the weekly march by chanting slogans against the illegal Israeli occupation, and against attempts to smear Islam and the prophet Muhammad.

Israeli forces fired ‘gas bombs’ at the demonstrators in addition to spraying them with ‘waste-water mixed with chemicals’, leading to several injuries.

Rachel Corrie verdict

On 28 August, an Israeli judge found that the death of US solidarity activist Rachel Corrie, killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, was an accident. Judge Oded Gershon went further and placed responsibility on Rachel herself.