by ISM activists
On Friday the 25th of November the village of Aboud held it’s second demonstration in two weeks against the construction of the wall there. Joined by Israeli and international supporters, the village came out in force to show opposition to the construction of the wall on their agricultural land and the destruction and theft that will result from it. Over 5330 dunams of their land, as well as the whole of the water sources of the village will be confiscated by the Israeli apartheid barrier.
Around 300 protesters marched towards the site where construction will soon begin. The IOF had learned from last week and were far more organised and aggressive. They had organized regular tactical positions which they could fall back to. The jeeps were kept in the back, rather than falling back every time. It was possibly a different company of soldiers from last week as we did not recognise any of them. They had several soldiers with cameras – both video and still. They constantly gathered information, recording the faces of many of those present, often against their explicitly expressed will. In the distance, Israeli snipers could be clearly observed on the tops of the hills on both sides of the demonstration.
When the demonstration reached the first earth mound blocking the road, a few soldiers showed a map declaring the area a “closed military zone” – the usual IOF tactic to prevent non-violent demonstrations. They were largely ignored by the demonstrators who continued along the path towards the building site. At a tactically superior site in the road, a large number of IOF soldiers blocked the road, using razor wire and their own physical presence. Almost immediately, they attempted to disperse the protesters using sound grenades and tear gas. This assault on an unarmed crowd, consisting largely of young men, continued at regular intervals throughout the demonstration, often when there were attempts to move forward past the soldiers, though sometimes for no apparent reason. The soldiers also beat, punched and kicked people in the crowd.
Three Palestinians and one Israeli were arrested, including one Salaiman Khouri (33) who was trying to act as a de-escalating presence, negotiating with the soldiers in Hebrew. For his efforts he received a bloody wound to his arm from the soldier’s beatings. The four were held for over an hour, and were eventually released after negotiations, on condition that the demonstration end and disperse. One of the arrestees, Abdullah Bhargouti (24) was badly injured after being beaten with the soldiers rifle butts, and struck in the head and chest with their batons. His brother Abdullah Raheem Bhargouti was also arrested and held. For an hour they kept him captive using extremely tight handcuffs, which left marks on his arms.
After release, he was admitted to hospital for 24 hours, to allow neurological checks to be performed.
Despite the violence of the Israeli Occupation Forces, the demonstration was a success, pushing far into the land of the village. This acted as strong statement against the wall.