Today in 2007: High Court rules to reroute separation barrier in Bil’in
4 September 2017
After 2.5 years of joint struggle with Palestinians, Israelis and internationals and 134 weekly nonviolent demonstrations, Israel’s High Court of Justice ordered the Defense Ministry to reroute the separation barrier built on the lands of the village of Bil’in, returning about half of the 500 acres that were situated on the Israeli side. Israeli human rights attorney Michael Sfard represented the Palestinian residents of the village in their petition. Bil’in is the most well known of all the West Bank villages waging popular resistance against Israeli occupation due to the tenacity of its residents and their media savvy as well as the joint nonviolent nature of the protests with Palestinians, Israelis and internationals participating together. The award-winning documentaries made about the struggle (Five Broken Cameras and Bil’in Habibti) and the unique and creative protest measures, among them: kite contests over the wall, “harvesting” empty tear gas canisters instead of olives, Avatar-style costumes to link the struggle to the popular film and night marches with candles in response to army night raids.
The significance of the ruling is Israeli recognition that the route of the fence served settlement expansion – and was not simply a security measure. It took four years and two contempt of-court orders, during which time people were arrested, injured and even killed during protests (including Bassem “Pheel” Abu-Rahme, seen here in this iconic image flying a kite), until the rerouting was finally executed.
Learn the history of the occupation so that we can overcome it, because #50isEnough.
The occupation has gone on for 50 years. It’s a problem that must be addressed for Israel’s sake and for the Palestinians. Over 5 decades and in every month of the year, Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and others have made their mark on reality. Telling these stories is part of how our movement grows stronger. This series marks the watershed moments we all need to know about.