“Freedom and security - it’s not difficult to understand why we do this.”

Article published on Sept. 22, 2011
community published
Article published on Sept. 22, 2011
By Lisa KittelPeople lie if they say it has no price says Ayed Morrar, a Palestinian community organizer about fighting for his land and freedom. He defends his village Budrus from the invasion of the Israeli security fence. Why he and the others of the little village stood up nevertheless and, especially how, is shown in the homonymous documentary Budrus.
Until now not enough known, The film shows how Israeli activists are abreast with Palestinian non-violent fighters. With patience during months and good reasons they affront the Israeli army and attract the attention of politicians, medias and international supporters like anti-apartheid-leader from South Africa.

Budrus2.jpgThe separation fence in the Westbank was constructed wide above the green line frontier from 1967 which has been extensively accepted. For the Israelites it’s a necessary security measure, for the Palestinians a new way to bully them. Deputy Margarete Auken from the Greens/EFA of the European Parliament argues though that the attacks on Israelites still stopped long before the construction of the wall.

Security through the separation of neighbours?

Sometimes, the fence blocks the access to agricultural fields, divides neighbors or, like in Budrus would go right through the cemetery. A very striking case is the hospital of the city Qalqilya. The city is completely surrounded with only one access point into town which makes it difficult to get help in case of urgency, like child birth etc. Incidentally, this is the only hospital directly run by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East which provides basic services like healthcare, free primary education and financing microenterprises.

Budrus1.jpg In Budrus, all began when people had to watch Israeli bulldozer by rooting up their olive trees. If a family possesses olive trees which are very old, that means that those olive trees still belonged to their ancestors. So, olive trees are the only sign of that ground really belongs to one family. Without them and the ground, they don’t have left a lot.

The women made the crucial step to stop Israelis soldiers

Motivated by this fear of total lost, Ayed Morrar, Palestinian community organizer, and the other men of Budrus couldn’t be stopped, even through police confrontations, within their protest: Prison won’t terrorize us. But the crucial moment of change during the unarmed protest, was when the women of the village entered the field. Ayed’s 15 year old daughter Iltezam came up with a lot of other woman, confronting the Israelite police: We’re woman, leave the guns! Nevertheless, the military used crowd dispersal methods against them and had even beaten them up. At one point a woman stood up directly in front of the bulldozer and held out in her position. The soldier had to stop if he didn’t want to hurt her and the other women who followed. I’m sure that everybody in Budrus remember this day, says Iltezam proudly. She also talks about the resistance in her family, a member who passed 6 months in prison and 3 years as a refugee. With this family history, it is only logical that the youth feels that “now, it’s my turn”, like she says.

It’s like a dream, not all Israelis are the same

In addition to the help of women and Israeli activists, also the Hamas and Fatah collaborated with. Ayed. He explains: Although I see the Hamas critical, they’re an authentic part of society. If they reject a movement, they are able to sabotage it. Ilteam was more concerned about her changed image of the Israelites. The few contacts she had with Israelites were negative. Now she all the more pleased: I didn’t expect this. It’s like a dream. Not all Israelis are the same. A young Israeli soldier confirms the impact of the them: We couldn’t use violence because our people were there as well. That made everything more difficult to us.But also the Palestinians had difficult moments concerning their fighting method. The non-violent way, opening the door to international support, is only possible if you can always resist the provocations. During a very strong escalation a man got arrested and houses were taken, so that some men began to throw stondes against the soldiers.

Finally, the barrier was removed to the green line, 95% of the land was saved and other villages got inspired through the big medial attention the non-violent movement got. One of those supporters, who want to spread the message We can do it and such unarmed fusions for one cause between Israelites and Palestine people exist and are successful, is the documentary company Just Vision who made and spread the documentary. Especially in the verge of the Palestinian application for the recognition as a state on Friday at the UN assembly, this is among other things something to be focused. The network of Palestinian, Israeli and American Partner Organizations, tells through communication and films stories which seldom make the headline. For more information have a look at the Just Vision Website.