Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bil'in: Activist/Artist Shot with Live Ammo by Israeli Soldiers

See Video Here:
We were very sorry to learn today that our friend Ibraheem Bornat was shot yesterday at the weekly Bil'in demonstration and badly wounded. He was shot with 3 live bullets in the thigh, severing an artery and a nerve and causing major blood loss. According to the Bil'in popular committee.

Ibrahim is currently in the hospital in critical condition and undergoing surgery. It is not clear if he will be able to walk. Although we only met him briefly during the Bi'lin conference, I would call him a friend because he immediately made a strong impression as a kind and gentle person. He is from Bi'in village, and is a very quiet and warm person -- you would never know what he had been through if you didn't ask. He has been attending the peacful protests in Bi'lin for a long time and was once shot in the head at 10 meters distance with a tear gas canister, breaking his skull. We asked him about the large soft scar in the center of his forehead -- exactly in the shape of the pointed end of the metal tear gas canisters that soldiers shoot from their M16s and from which he now makes his art (see below). He says he was unconscious for 20 days after the incident and even now has trouble reading.

Demonstrations in Bi'lin are peaceful and the effort is deliberately nonviolent. Sometimes young boys throw stones (harmlessly) at the (protected) soldiers, and in this case Ibraheem was trying to (symbolically) damage the wall that is build on his village's land by an illegal occupation army. It seems clear to me that the Israeli soldiers will use any excuse to inflict the maximum harm on protestors, while still trying to maintain an image of a "moral" army. Even assuming that the army has the right to dispers protesters on Palestinian land, the army has long used live ammo or misused tear gas canisters causing injury and death to hundreds of palestinians. This is well documented by respected Israeli and international human
rights organizations like Btselem and Amnesty International.

From video footage it appears that during the demonstration he began trying to damage the Apartheid Wall with stones when Israeli soldiers opened fire. Again, you can see the video of the shooting here:

For a full report, see:
above: M16 shell casings and rubber coated steel bullets
The bottom of this flower is a tear gas canister, maybe 10 inches in lenght and quite heavy when full. Also it is scorching hot. One hit me in the arm after falling from the sky, burining the hair off my arm! If fired directly (against safety rules), they can kill.
Various munitions used by Israeli soldiers against peaceful Bil'in protests heaped on an Israeli flag.
Building a model of the wall, with Israel on one side and the Palestinian "prison" on the other.
Ibrahim could usually be found with his art or spending hours walking around the conference pouring water for guests.

1 comment:

Bravejeworld said...

I like the little model of Israel on one side of the security barrier and the Palestinian territories. Interesting that the Israeli side is modeled with nice looking houses and the Palestinian side looks grey and gloomy. Is it perhaps because the Israelis don't spend their time trying to think of the next terrorist attack whereas the Palestinian side does? Could it be that the Israeli authorities have built up and developed their land to create a strong democratic economy whereas the Palestinian authorities have not? With so many other muslim countries in the world, why have none of them come to help their brothers in the West Bank and Gaza? And why is it that any money that has been sent has not found its way to building up infrastructure but instead has found its way into the pockets of corrupt leaders? Or could it be that both the Palestinians and their Arab brothers would prefer to keep them in this state of misery as it serves their cause well and deflects nicely away from the domestic problems all these countries have at home and would rather not deal with.