July 21, 2014
By Existence is Resistance
Palestinian City of Haifa
July 18, 2014
I have been to many protests in my life, gassed, shot at with rubber bullets, sprayed with skunk water, attacked by counter protesters but never in my 33 years have I ever witnessed firsthand the violent rampage that Israeli police unleashed on demonstrators in Haifa yesterday.
During the ongoing slaughter in Gaza, inflicted upon the Palestinian people by the terrorist state of Israel, Palestinians (not “Arab Israelis” – I will explain this later) living in occupied ’48 territories have been protesting non-stop to show their solidarity for their fellow Palestinians being brutally massacred in large numbers just a few hours away. The despair, pain and helplessness felt by all is extremely visible.
Yesterday I joined a demo in my hometown city of Haifa. Family members were with me among a long stream of familiar faces. People brought their children, young sisters and brothers and even elderly to join in voicing our disgust at the ongoing brutal attacks on our people in the worlds largest open air prison, Gaza.
As we drove to the gathering point I could see hundreds of Israeli police positioned in different areas and side roads. There were two massive sanitation looking trucks which spray “Skunk” water (It is a mix of chemicals that has the most awful odor that can last weeks on ones body and almost impossible to remove from clothes).
As we began marching down the mountain on the main street we could see up ahead a barrier of police, fingers on their triggers. We continued down past them and made our way to a T junction at the top of a street they call “Ben Gurion Street” which, I would like to add, has been there from before “Ben Gurion” was even born and the true name of it is “German Avenue” built by the Germans in 1868.
Just as I stood atop the roundabout to take pictures I saw the police rushing the demonstrators back up the street towards me. I looked left and right and saw the police closing in on us. Then in what seemed seconds the police were galloping towards us with their huge horses trampling people and swinging their bats as demonstrators scrambled to get away. Their violent tactic was to split us into smaller groups and barricade us in with police and military allowing no-one to exit.
Chants and songs continued with our fellow comrades barricaded in two other areas close by. I remember looking in the Israelis faces thinking “so young and stupid”, “so young and racist”….They looked scared. The fear was dripping off their faces and every time the young Palestinian men gathered to discuss our next moves, the police would grip their guns and bats with such unease. It was quite ironic really, having all the weapons in the world and still being a wimp.
About 45 minutes later they finally decided to allow us to leave but with them leading us across the street and north, away from our comrades still barricaded in. All of a sudden, all hell broke loose. It was a planned premeditated attack. They had us squashed up on the sidewalk and they came at us full force with bats, plastic shields and horses trampling us.
A young Palestinian brother was getting punched repeatedly in the face by three police and I attempted to film. As I filmed they pushed us in further and behind me was a metal fence. I remember the faces of the girls next to me and watching the footage back, the screams coming from us being crushed are almost unbearable to hear. I literally thought in that moment “wow, this is what it feels like to be crushed to death”…..then our Palestinian brothers formed a barrier around us and one of them was thrown over the fence dropping a few meters down. People jumped over to help him. I looked over at another Palestinian girl who was being beaten like I have never seen before by a group of Israeli police. It was gut wrenching. I cannot explain the feeling. Although this demo was without a permit, it is important to also note that no-one demonstrating provoked the violence unleashed by the Israelis yesterday whatsoever.
The scenes of brutality I witnessed yesterday may make some cry and of course it was scary but in all honesty, I felt proud, proud to be Palestinian. Proud to see such beautiful solidarity from my Palestinian brothers and sisters as I did. Palestinian men protected us as much to their ability as they could with their bodies making barriers around the women and took beatings most people I know wouldn’t be able to handle.
In many places around the world if someone had a gun to your head and said “walk”, you would walk…..Palestinians refuse. Even with the most heavy weaponry in the world, these fascist racist violent occupying scum do not scare our people and that my friends is exactly what scares them. They think beating and arresting people will scare us but it’s actually the opposite, they are only adding fuel to our fire.
Please keep Gaza in your prayers and keep spreading the truth.