Monday, April 23, 2007

Puerto Rican activist arrested at Second Bil'in International Conference on Nonviolence

Jonas Martinez writing from Bil'in, occupied Palestine, Live from Palestine, 23 April 2007

""Thanks to the media here for telling the truth ... Bring this truth to whatever country you come from!"

These were Mairead Maguire's words, a Nobel Peace Prize winner from Northern Ireland, just one hour before she was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet by Israeli Occupation Forces.

At a press conference next to the Apartheid Wall in Bil'in, she stood beside Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Palestinian Information Minister.

"Nonviolence will solve the problems here in Israel and Palestine," Ms. Macguire continued. "Often, the world sees only violence. But Palestinians are a good people, working towards nonviolence. This Wall must fall! It is an insult to the human family and to the world -- that we are building Apartheid Walls in the twenty-first century! More than forty years of Occupation and land appropriation."

Ms. Macguire demanded the world stop Israel's "mild dictatorship" and "total Israeli government control."

Dr. Barghouti thanked her and the 500 attendees of the Second Bil'in International Conference on Nonviolence. Regarding the Wall, he stated that it was an "instrument of ethnic cleansing, the same as what happened in 1948." Barghouti suggested to read Ilan Pappe's book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine for a clear explanation.

Barghouti stated that the Apartheid Wall is being used to suffocate the idea of a two-state solution and an independent Palestinian state.

Describing the Wall, Barghouti said that it was 850 km in length, which is three times the length of the Green Line, that the wall surrounds and imprisons cities and villages. Qalqiliya was mentioned, a city of 46,000 Palestinians, which is completely surrounded by the Aparthied Wall.

"This Wall is being built between Palestinians and Palestinians," he said. "It is not being built between Palestine and Israel. Eight-hundred-and-fifty thousand Palestinians are behind this wall. It is destroying Palestinian social, economic, health, and educational systems......."

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