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The Only Democracy? » On The Ground Reports » Live from The Only Democracy? Part 3: Not This Week

Live from The Only Democracy? Part 3: Not This Week

By Libby Amit

After all the fuss, all the speculations and media coverage, local and international interest, internet buzz and adrenaline – nothing out of the ordinary happened in Bil’in or Ni’lin today. The Israeli military raised our expectation and craving for confrontation by widely publicizing the new military order declaring the two villages closed military zones on Fridays for the next six months. But when it came right down to it and demonstrators got into cars and left Tel Aviv for the West Bank, they got through checkpoints with no problems, marched out of the villages towards the Separation Barrier with their Palestinian co-protesters, breathed some teargas and called it a day. The protests were done by 2:30 this afternoon.

We could spend hours hypothesizing about why the army chose not to make a dramatic statement and arrest tens of activists today despite the grand gesture it made earlier in the week but the truth is it just doesn’t matter. This struggle is not about one week, one month or one year. The fact that nothing crazy happened this week, the first week after the new military order, does not mean that there is no crackdown against protests in the West Bank. The measure of this crackdown is not a week – it is over years.

When Israelis began protesting alongside Palestinians in places like Budrus and Bilin, they would simply not have believed that five, six or seven years later there would be a need for a military order especially to bar their entry to demonstrations. But today that is what the army sees as necessary in order to control a struggle that it will never control. One quiet week from Israel’s army should not signify anything beyond the fact that this week was quiet. There is indeed a crackdown and it will rear its ugly head again and again but there is also a long-enduring joint Israeli and Palestinian struggle against the wall, settlement and occupation and it will not be deterred by military orders, arrests or rubber bullets. Not this week and not next. We’ll be back.

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Libby Amit is a Israeli human rights activist.

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