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15 hurt in fence protest

by Ali Waked for Ynet
Anti-fence protesters, security forces clash near Palestinian village of Bilin.

About 15 protesters have been injured on Friday in clashes between security forces and protesters against the West Bank security fence during a weekling demonstration held by Palestinians and Israeli leftists in Bilin, a Palestinian village between Ramallah and Modi’in.

Fatah candidates for the upcoming Palestinian elections joined hundreds of protesters who claimed they had managed to dismantle five meters of the wired fence.

Protesters defied an IDF ban on entering the fence stretches near Bilin, scuffling with security forces who used tear gas to disperse the crowd who attempted to force its way to an outpost set up by leftists near Bilin.

Demonstrators complained of excessive force applied by security forces, saying certain individuals were beaten up. Despite stringent security measures a number of protesters permeated the line of riot police and reached the outpost, where they held signs condemning Israel’s confiscation of Beilain land to build the fence and expand a nearby Jewish settlement.

The High Court of Justice is set to rule early next month on a petition against government orders to expropriate Bilin land, but many protesters fear the IDF will defy the court.

Mohammad Khatib, a member of a Bilin council leading the campaign against the fence, said: “If there is justice in Israel, the court should rule that the expansion of the settlement is illegal and it should rule that the fence should be rerouted near the settlement. We have no faith in the justice system of the occupation and I do not believe a decision will be made in our favor.”

The IDF said protesters instigated the riots as they hurled stones at security forces.

Efrat Weiss contributed to this report