The Israeli army’s conduct reached an unprecedented low when Israeli soldiers attacked a demonstration of Palestinians who had been disabled by past Israeli army attacks. The procession included ten people in wheelchairs, several people on crutches, and a number of blind people. As soon as they came into view, the disabled demonstrators were attacked by the Israeli army with tear gas. A few fainted, and when other demonstrators tried to help them they were arrested. In total, four Palestinians, including Mohammed Al Khatib and other leaders of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, and one disabled demonstrator were detained. Three Israelis, including journalist Shai Pollakk, were arrested. After attacking the demonstration, the army proceeded to invade the village and provoke an hour-long confrontation that resulted in many more Palestinian injuries.
Continuing their non-violent resistance of the last four months, this Friday the people of Bil’in will again demonstrate against the construction of the wall on their land. They will be joined by international and Israeli supporters. It is hoped that the presence of international and Israeli activists will reduce the level of violence used by the army. If there was any doubt about the army’s violent tactics, the matter was clarified in court recently by a border police officer and a soldier who testified that in joint demonstrations (where both Palestinian and Israeli civilians are present) the military aims to remove the Israeli civilians from the line of fire so that they can shoot rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians.
The past week has seen an escalation of the Israeli army’s tactics of abuse, intimidation, and violence against the village of Bil’in. On Sunday June 5th, a member of Bil’in’s Popular Committee was stopped at a checkpoint, held for several hours and then beaten by a group of soldiers. On the night of Tuesday June 7 the army invaded the village at night and entered the homes of other Committee members. Their only crime is their insistence on their right to resist the crimes committed against them by the army.
Those who think that such tactics will break the spirit of the people of Bil’in should come and see for themselves on Friday.
- What: A demonstration against the Israeli Annexation Wall and settlement expansion
- Where: Bil’in, Ramallah district, Palestine
When: 1 PM, Friday June 10