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From Wednesday, April 18 to Friday, April 20, Bil’in held their second Annual International Conference. Nearly 500 participants - Israelis, Palestinians and Internationals - attended this three day conference.
Wednesday April 18, guest speakers from all over the world participated on the first day of the Conference, including: Mohammad Khatib and members of the Bil’in Popular Committee; Dr. Ilan Pappe, Israeli author of "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine"; Dr. Azmi Bishara, Arab Israeli Member of the Knesset; Luisa Morgantini, Italian EU Parliament Member and Peace Activist; Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Irish Nobel Peace Prize recipient ; Stéphane Hessel, former French Ambassador; Jean-Claude Lefort, French Parliament member; Amira Hass, author and journalist for Ha’aretz; Sam Bahour, Palestinian activist and entrepreneur; Palestine Information Minister Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, and many more. In the evening, participants and inhabitants of Bil’in watched together Bil’in against the Wall, the latest film directed by Emad Bornat, journalist and inhabitant of Bi’lin.
Thursday April 19, day 2 of Conference, focused on workshops (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions; Media advocacy, etc). Additional workshops were led by Jeff Halper from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions; George Rishmawi, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement; Uri Avnery, Israeli journalist and Knesset member. In the evening, Bil’in Youth did a Dabkeh show (palestinian traditionnal dance).
On Friday April 20, last day of the Conference, and "demo day" in Bil’in since February 2005, a press conference was held near the Wall. Participants and villagers protested together despite the IDF repression. Tito, an activist from Porto Rico, climbed on a surveillance tower located on Bil’in confiscated lands behind the Wall now and unfurled a Palestinian flag at the top. Tito has been deported by Israeli authorities and is not allowed to return to Palestine and Israel.
The First Vice-President of SAMWU, Mr Xolile Nxu, was detained, interrogated and strip searched by Israeli security en route to the Second Annual Conference on Popular Non-Violent Resistance held recently in the West Bank village of Bil’in, Occupied Palestine. The conference was attended by 400 people from across the world, including EU Parliamentarian, Luisa Morgantini. Mr Nxu spoke on South African resistance to Apartheid, and also held discussions with Palestinians about the need for a One State solution to the current occupation.