Around 200 Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals – including a group of hip-hop musicians from the US and Britain – joined a protest on Friday afternoon in the Palestinian village of Bil’in calling on the international community to boycott Israel in order to end Israeli apartheid practices.
The protesters chanted, sang and held signs calling for Israel to tear down the Wall which it is constructing through the farmland of the people of Bil’in, as well as dozens of other Palestinian towns. They appealed to the international community to use economic pressure, through the tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions, to pressure Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian land and to provide equal rights to all Palestinians, as required under international law.
The non-violent demonstrators marched from the village center to the area where Israeli forces have been constructing the Annexation Wall on village land. Israeli soldiers stationed at the gate come rushing forward, according to eyewitnesses, and fired high-velocity tear gas canisters at the protesters, along with rubber-coated steel bullets. One of these bullets struck an Israeli demonstrator in the leg, injuring him. Another protester, from Great Britain, was dragged along the ground by the Israeli soldiers, causing bleeding and bruising on his back.
In addition, the tear gas ganisters caused two fires to start, but the demonstrators were able to put them out with no injuries.
Despite the Israeli attack on the demonstration, the hip-hop musicians managed to jump on a truck with a sound system and speakers, and gave a rap performance with songs focused on the Israeli occupation and the need for a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign.
In addition, the protesters honored the town of Olympia, Washington, in the US, for their courageous stance in calling for a boycott of Israeli goods in the town. Olympia was the home of non-violent activist Rachel Corrie, who was run over and killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 while standing in front of a Palestinian home in Rafah trying to prevent its demolition by Israeli troops.