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Watch: Avatars against the wall in Bil'in

Feb. 12, 2010 11:20 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2010 2:23 P.M.)
Ramallah – Ma'an – Dozens choked on tear gas across the occupied West Bank on Friday, as weekly protests against Israel's separation barrier were carried out in a number of Ramallah-area villages and towns.

In Bil'in, protesters dressed up as creatures in the animated American film Avatar, which chronicles the trials of a fictional indigenous population known as the Na'vi struggling against colonialism on another planet.

Palestinian, Israeli and international activists were painted blue, with pointy ears and tales, resembling the Avatar characters.

"Like Palestinians, the Avatars fight imperialism, although the colonizers have different origins," said a statement from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee. The Avatars' presence in Bil'in "symbolizes the united resistance to imperialism of all kinds."

Among the injured were Harun A'maieyarah, a correspondent for Palestine TV, as well as Fadi Al-Jayusi and Samir Burney, members of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil'in. Others joined in, as well, including member of the Palestinian Liberation Front Hisham Abu Raya, along with members of the Palestinian Struggle Front.

Protests continued in other West Bank locales, including the nearby Nil'in village.

Before going to Bil'in, Israeli activists reported that police were present at their carpool meeting point. Their IDs were checked and some cars reported they were followed by the police. At the Rantis checkpoint en route to the event, several were delayed once more and activists were obliged to continue their journey by taxi.

But the besieged village had some reason to celebrate this week. On Thursday, preparations for the construction of the wall's new route began, which returns 30 percent of Bil'in's land to the village.

Iyad Burnat, head of Popular Committee, declared partial victory.

"We feel relieved and feel the non-violent resistance is successful in its aim," he said. "Nevertheless, we will continue our struggle against the occupation as Bil'in still has another 30 percent of land that is confiscated by Israel."

Also this week, Auda Rebhi Abu Rahma, 21, was released after serving an eight-month imprisonment in Israel's Negev jail after being arrested for involvement in the rallies that are carried out in the village each week.

Next week, Bil'in marks five years of protests against the wall and settlements.
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