VIDEO: Seminars on the sand in support of the Bil’in movement 3Jan11 January 5, 2011

Brunswick Heads, NSW, Australia – 3 January 2011

Israeli military oppression reaches its zenith in the Palestinian village of Bi’lin with arbitrary arrests for peaceful protest, incarceration with no fixed release date, torture, abuse of children, loss of homes, orchards & olive groves to Israeli bulldozers and, of course, the massive Apartheid Wall which fractures the village. Simple journeys to school, relatives or shops now take hours thanks to ubiquitous military check-points and the Wall itself. Delays to medical services have caused deaths.

Gareth Smith, Byron People for Peace & Justice, entered the Brunswick Heads Fun Sandcastle Competition by constructing a sand mock-up of Bi’lin complete with Apartheid Wall & a Tonka Caterpillar bulldozer ramming its way through sand houses!

“Most Australians are unaware of what is happening throughout Occupied Palestine”, said Gareth. “A year ago, Coordinator of the Bil’in Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, Abdullah Abu Rahmah, was dragged at night from his family by the Israeli military who smashed their apartment. He was convicted of ‘organizing illegal demonstrations’ and ‘incitement’ against the Wall, despite the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruling that Israel’s wall is illegal and must be dismantled. Even the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the Wall’s route in Bi’lin is illegal. Abdullah is still locked up.

On New Year’s Day, the Abu Rahma family was hit yet again with the death of Jawaher Abu Rahma in her own home. She died from tear gas asphyxiation. Her brother Bassem was also killed by the Israelis 2 years ago. I wanted to take this opportunity of peacefully bringing the fate of Bi’lin and Abdullah to the attention of the Byron community and to generate support for the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement against Israel”. Unfortunately, the Brunswick Heads Progress Association which organised the event, complained about its “politicisation” and the amount of media attention it generated. They disqualified the entry claiming it had violated the rules-which it had not.

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