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Large military force secures destruction of olive trees

By Alison

For photos of today’s demonstration see:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]

At 7 am this morning, I joined a group of Palestinian villagers, Israelis, and internationals in the centre of Marda. We intended to go to the land where over a thousand olive trees have been cut to make way for the Apartheid Barrier in the last few days. Hundreds of border police were waiting for us on the villagers land. As we approached the land, the border police immediately started shooting tear gas and did not stop. Around 200 canisters of tear gas were shot over the next two hours. Two villagers were hit directly by gas canisters one of them required hospitalization. About twenty Palestinians were treated for tear gas inhalation.

No Wall work was happening at first, but the farmers quickly noticed that a bulldozer had begun to uproot trees near the top of the hill east of where we were standing. The group walked towards the olive trees and was immediately met by tear gas. Soldiers fired approximately 200 canisters of tear gas in the next two hours, hitting two Palestinians directly. One farmer was taken to Rafidiya hospital and two Red Crescent ambulances treated 20 Palestinians.

As the clouds of teargas began to disperse and some Palestinian men put out a fire that was caused by the gas, two military vehicles drove into the community. We walked back to the village at this point, scared that they might be coming to arrest villagers (as they did yesterday in Beit Surik). In the village there was a confrontation between the soldiers, and the Palestinians and other demonstrators. Some Palestinians threw some stones from the top of the house that the soldiers were very close to. The soldiers got out of their jeeps with guns in hand, and shot tear gas into some of the homes, filled with women and children.

One older woman had been affected harshly by the tear gas, and was trying everything she could think of to relieve the pain. It made me so angry to see these women trying to deal with the tear gas that the soldiers shot into their homes. The women were scared, especially when the soldiers shot several sound bombs in addition to the tear gas. Two soldiers eventually came into one house looking for the boys who were throwing the stones, but they did not find anyone to arrest.

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