October 10, 2013
Maan News Agency via philosophersstone.co.uk
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Subhiya Abu Rahmah, the mother of two Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces, walks every day to the place where her son, Bassem, was shot dead.
She carries with her a bottle of water to irrigate the flowers planted inside tear gas grenades in the garden in her village of Bilin.
This garden is built around the grave of Bassem Abu Rahmah, a leader of the Bilin protest movement who was killed by Israeli forces in 2009 when a tear gas grenade struck him in the chest.
The residents of Bilin, a Palestinian village in the central West Bank near Ramallah, have begun using thousands of Israeli tear gas grenades fired at their village as pots for a nascent flower garden.
Since 2005, Bilin villagers have protested on a weekly basis against the Israeli separation wall that runs through their village on land confiscated from local farmers. Today, similar weekly protests take place in Palestinian villages across the West Bank in a broad resistance movement against the Israeli separation wall.
Israeli forces fire thousands of tear gas bombs towards Palestinian protesters during the village’s weekly demonstrations. Palestinians, however, have transformed these tear gas bombs into a garden. The garden of tear gas canister covers an area of 150 square meters.
Subhiya Abu Rahma, says “I feel that Bassem is always around me. I feel comfortable because I came here to irrigate these flowers. He loved flowers. My feelings cannot be described; the feelings of a mother. I feel always that my heart is broken and sad.”
Israel closed an investigation into Abu Rahmah’s death in September, citing a lack of evidence.
Three video segments filmed during the protest prove that Abu Rahmah did not act violently and did not endanger the soldiers in any way.
Other soldiers in the same video can be seen firing tear-gas canisters directly at protestors in the presence of senior officers and in complete contravention of the open-fire regulations
As a result of their weekly protests, Bilin residents have forced Israeli forces to return more than 1,200 dunams of village land confiscated by the Israeli forces. They refuse to stop protesting, however, until they get back all of the land stolen from them.
The people of Bilin have transformed the bombs of death into a garden of life.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
Israel began building the separation wall in 2002, and the route has been the target of regular demonstrations by border towns whose land is cut off by its path. Israel has regularly confiscated large plots of Palestinian land in order to build the wall. When the 435-mile barrier is complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the occupied West Bank.
In 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled that the separation wall was illegal and “tantamount to annexation.”
Source: Maan News Agency
Related article: Remembering Bassem Abu Rahma of Bilin