Ni'lin, land grab protest, 2009June 26. Part of my work for Stop the Wall involved photographing some of the anti-Wall protests, which I otherwise would not have felt very comfortable doing. Proper photographers get over their self-consciousness being behind the lens. I never have. In this photo, youth from Ni'lin remove barbed wire from the wall. In 2009 the wall might have consisted only of a fence, but the protests did so much damage to the wall and all the expensive sensors the military attaches to it, they eventually brought in the concrete blocks.
Bil'in, land grab protest, 2009July 10. Bil'in is a strange place, and over the past decade (I think that's how long they've been going), they've really developed the performance aspect of weekly protest. This week though, for whatever reason, lacked any kind of theater and just went straight to confrontation. Bil'in is also a weird place to take photographs, and there were probably 30 others who took this same shot. Still, I like it.
al-Ma'sara, closure protest, 2009July 31. This photograph caught my eye years after I took it. I think, back in the day, I was looking for more dynamic shots that sort of showcased Palestinian resistance and agency. I like this one because it captures a kind of silly, banal and very low-energy moment: an 18- or 19-year-old conscript fiddling with the barbed wire that has gotten caught on his pants.
Ni'lin, land grab protest, 2009August 14. I always wondered how people felt about younger kids taking part in protests. The military shot and killed 5 young men in Ni'lin during the height of the protests between 2009 and 2010, and injured hundreds more, so the risk was very real. Sometimes it would come out, when very, very pissed off mothers would do a bit of imploring, but mostly I didn't witness any sort of discussion about the issue. It wasn't until I came back for fieldwork in 2016, during the stabbing attacks, that I sort of stumbled across it on the radio. I had a car, so I was driving a lot and listening to the radio, and there were lots of people, many of them parents, calling the station to weigh in.
Ni'lin, land grab protest, 2009August 14. I love this photograph. That is all.
Ni'lin, land grab protest, 2009September 4. I think this was the start of one of the Friday protests. Because of the regularity of the marches, there were always a large number of military jeeps deployed before anything would start.
Ni'lin, land grab protest, 2009September 4. At this point, they had brought in the concrete wall. Later in the year, people managed to tear that down momentarliy as well.
Ni'lin, land grab protest, 2009September 4. Getting up and over.
Ni'lin, land grab protest, 2009September 4. I have a lot of photographs from this particular day. That water cannon in the background is the infamous 'skunk' cannon; the water is chemically treated to smell worse than sewage and it sticks to your body for hours, sometimes days. The smell is os bad that it can induce vomiting, which I learned on the one occassion I was careless and let it get too close. The military makes a point of driving these things through villages and spraying everything down.
Ni'lin, land grab protest, 2009September 4. Protestors would collect unexploded tear gas bombs and try to lob them back at the military. For whatever reason most Israeli soldiers don't seem to have, or at least to wear, gas masks, so this is quite effective. This kid managed to get close enough to the jeeps, lob one of these grenades nearly into a jeep, and escape unharmed. Some of the kids in Ni'lin even had built homemade tear gas launchers which they would use to fire the tear gas canisters back at the army.
Ni'lin, land grab protest, 2009September 4. Beating a hasty retreat.
Nil'in, land grab protest, 2009September 4. These sorts of photographs - of the 32 or 64 rounds (or maybe it was more or less?) of tear gas rain - came out, and probably still do, of almost every weekly protest. These barrages are also very effective at doling out collective punishment to small villages.
Ni'lin, land grab protest, 2010January 22. My favorite little bit of this photo, and another one I have of the same young man, is the red leg warmers.
al-Walaja, land grab protest, 2010December 24. I think I had taken a step back from lots of Stop the Wall work in 2010, but ended up coming back near the end of the year. This was a great march, from what I remember. Many people in al-Walaja work in Israel on permits, and one of the organizers told me that it was quite hard to mobilize people because they were afraid of retribution.
al-Walaja, land grab protest, 2010December 24. You know those people you see at every protest, but you don't know their names? This man is one of those people.
Beitin, closure protest, 2010December 24. The man in the center of the picture - Bassem Tamimi - was one of the leaders of the protests at al-Nabi Saleh. It was neat to see him, and other local leaders, showing up in Beitin. I did my first real fieldwork in al-Nabi Saleh, but it was never clear to me how close the people I worked with coordinated with them. I think I ran into him a few weeks later, in Ramallah, and shortly after he was arrested.
Beitin, closure protest, 2010December 27. Beitin is a Ramallah-area village that should be a 5 minute drive to the city. But because of closures, one has to do this huge roundabout loop, 20 minutes or more through some tiny backroads and down a really sketchy mountain. Its those little things, grinding on over decades, that push people out.
Beitin, closure protest, 2010December 27. This protest was strange; clashes started at a point when lots of the older marchers were still next to the soldiers. They didn't bother to move right away, and the soldiers didn't much care.