Palestinians fight occupation with nonviolent action

12/01/09 Doris Norrito
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In the Palestinian village of Bil'in, a heavy gate and thick coils of razor wire separate Israel from Palestinians living a few meters away. The small village has become a model and inspiration for a growing number of nonviolent demonstrations springing up throughout the occupied territories.

Each Friday, armed only with banners, Palestinian flags and a bullhorn, several hundred villagers are joined by Israeli activists and international supporters. Together they march to protest the wall and the confiscation of Palestinian lands. They are met by soldiers with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Eyad Burnat heads the Popular Committee in Bil'in. He is also co-founder of Friends of Freedom and Justice. A short distance from his house tanks and soldiers patrol the nearby road. As we walk toward the barrier fence he talks about the weekly demonstrations and the response of the Israeli soldiers.

Burnat has four young children. Awakened each night by house raids, they chant a plea to stop the disruption of their sleep. Under continuous surveillance, the detection of international supporters offers a deterrent to the frightening raids.

Eyad Burnat was invited to attend the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict and to participate in a "Nonviolent Strategy Retreat" being conducted at the Carter Center in Georgia. For the second year, the Israeli government denied him a Visa to travel to the United States.

Weekly reports on the demonstrations in Bil'in can be viewed at

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