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Demonstration against a checkpoint near the village of Nazlat Issa

At noon on July 7 2005 around 80 Palestinians from the village of Nazlat Issa in the West Bank, accompanied by international activists, carried out a demonstration against a checkpoint near their village.

Nazlat Issa is divided by the Annexation Wall, which separates a few houses from the rest of the village. The residents of these houses have to pass through a checkpoint in order to get to work, to school, or to visit friends and relatives living in the neighboring Palestinian city of Baqa Gharbiya inside Israel. The checkpoint is always manned by soldiers or border police.

We marched to a house in the village which has been occupied by the Israeli army, with soldiers stationed on the roof. On the way we saw the site where four of the houses had been demolished to make way for the construction of the Wall. We then walked towards the checkpoint in the village.

There was a group of Israeli soldiers with four jeeps waiting for us at the checkpoint. We approached to within about 50m of the checkpoint, chanting, singing, and dancing.

The soldiers declared the village a closed military zone. Most of the soldiers did not appear to have tear gas or other crowd control methods.

After about an hour the internationals and most of the Palestinians walked back to the village but some young men stayed behind and threw stones toward the soldiers. The soldiers came into the village and arrested two Palestinian boys, aged 15 and 18.

The internationals spoke to villagers and got the names and ID numbers of the arrested boys and passed this information on to Hamoked, an Israeli human rights organization which will follow the case and pass any information they get on to the family. The internationals went with the families of the arrested boys to talk to the soldiers at the checkpoint to try to get the boys released.

The younger boy was released about one hour after his arrest but the other boy was taken to an Isralei jail inside a nearby illegal Israeli settlement. As we were preparing to leave the checkpoint the soldiers called our taxi driver over and asked him if he works with us (with the ISM).

For pictures from the action see: