Home / Press Releases / Palestinian and International medical volunteers shot at and wounded in Balata

Palestinian and International medical volunteers shot at and wounded in Balata

1. Stage Two: Balata Refugee Camp Reinvaded
2. Stage One: The Invasion of Balata Camp
3. A victory for Non violence in Beit Sira
4. Ten anti-separation fence protesters hurt in clash with IDF-from Haaretz
5. More Arrests in Bil’in
6. The Joint Struggle and the Non-Violent International Struggle Against the Occupation
7. Jordan Valley Farmers March to live
8. Pictures From a Tour Bus Window

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1. Stage Two: The reinvasion of Balata Camp

“We were standing in the alley way, everything was quite when suddenly without warning we heard a big explosion and heard gun shots. I then saw Jarar and Ihab liying on the floor. Ihab wasn’t moving.” Wounded Dutch medical volunteer

Balata Refugee camp was reinvaded at 1:30 in the morning on February 23rd.

19 year-old Ibrahim Saadi was shot dead while throwing a stone at the Israeli armored jeeps

20 year-old Naim Abu Sarif was shot dead by a sniper while standing on the roof of his house.

Five refugee camp residents were wounded, including a 36 year-old taxi driver, Farach Kawa, who sustained multiple fragments of a live bullet to his head and shoulder.

At 11:45 this morning an explosion set off by the Israeli military inside the house belonging to Muhammed Abu Hamis Abu Amar caused a fire in the house. Occupation forces prevented fire trucks from accessing the area and told them that they will be detonating further explosions in the same house. Emergency teams accompanied by international volunteers treated children in some of the adjacent houses who were effected by smoke inhalation. Neighbours attempted to put out the fire by bringing buckets of water.

At 12:30 the military set off a series of additional explosions inside the house of Muhammed Abu Amar.

At 1:00 A medical team including two Palestinians and two international volunteers were trapped in an alleyway adjacent to the house belonging to Muhammed Abu Amar. They were standing behind an Israeli Jeep that soldiers had vacated.

At 2:00 without any warning shots they were fired at and a grenade was thrown at them from around the corner. According to the volunteers the shooting came from the direction of the Alleyway where the Israeli soldiers were. A twenty two year old American student was wounded by Shrapnel in the hand a twenty nine year old Dutch volunteer was wounded by shrapnel in the thigh and shoulder, Jirar Candola an ambulance driver with the UPMRC was shot in the arm and leg and Ihab Mansour, a medical volunteer working with the Palestinian scientific society, was shot in the head and taken away by the Israeli soldiers.

At 3:00 the soldiers blew up Muhammad Abu Amar’s house, thus killing three Palestinian fighters who were inside.

Israeli forces withdrew from the camp in the early evening.

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2. Stage One: The Invasion of Balata Camp

The incursion in Balata refugee camp started on 1:00 am February 19 when Balata camp was put under curfew. The Israeli Military has made medical emergency work impossible. All entrances to Balata refugee camp are blocked. The one ambulance left in the camp brings the wounded only to the edge of the camp, as medical workers fear that the army would prevent the vehicle from re-entering. The wounded are carried on stretchers to the entrance of the camp and transported to hospitals in Nablus. Normal ambulance traffic has come to a complete halt.

International volunteers are working with ambulance personnel to transport the wounded to an emergency field clinic inside the camp and to hospitals in Nablus and other cities. They witnessed all of the following incidents or heard and confirmed them with ambulance personnel of the United Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UMPRC) and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

Two youth were killed and over thirty injured when the Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at the youth who were confronting soldiers with stones. Medical volunteers were called to the site where Mohammed Ahmad Natur and Ibrahim Ahmad Sheikh Khalil had been shot. One had been shot in the neck and the other in the chest. They were later declared dead. According to the IOF the boys were planting bombs. The volunteers have witnessed no explosions or bomb squads in the area and the army has continued to use the road in question throughout the day.

In the morning, an ambulance carrying a woman in complicated labor and an injured person was ambushed by two jeeps. The jeeps drove into the ambulance from both sides and shot at it. The soldiers forced the ambulance to stand still for half an hour to use it as a shield against youth throwing stones at them.

07:15-An Israeli military Jeep shot in the direction of an ambulance and prevented it from approaching the camp.

11:15-The military attempted to close the UN medical clinic by shooting warning shots and percussion grenades. They also prevented patients from entering the clinic.

13:00 pm two ambulances were held up by several jeeps. According to the ambulance team they were detained for 30 minutes and someone with a bullet wound in the shoulder was beaten inside one of the ambulance. The soldiers forced the ambulance personnel to undress his wound, which had just stopped bleeding. The ambulance was held until the family, with the help of the ambulance team and the IWPS volunteers, brought his ID card. After his ID was checked, the ambulance continued its way, only to be stopped by the next jeep on the road.

13:30 pm the IWPS volunteers arrived inside Balata refugee camp on foot, where they witnessed the shooting of two boys shot in the leg and the side. One of them had a flesh wound and the other’s bone was crushed by a bullet. A medical team and the IWPS volunteers ran two kilometers with the two injured boys, because the ambulance that was carrying them was not allowed to move.

13:45-Mohammad Yousef was shot with a rubber coated metal bullet in the head while throwing stones at a military jeep on Jamal Abdel Nasser Street near the entrance of the camp. The bullet entered several centimetres into his skull. There were an additional 12 young men injured while throwing stones at the military jeeps, in Balata village. Another five were injured by rubber coated steal bullets.

15:20-Four youths are injured by rubber coated steel bullets. One of them is shot in the head.

15:40-Israeli soldiers denied entry to a medical team attempting to deliver food and medicine into the camp. The Israeli soldiers also threatened to shoot them.

18:00- large group of soldiers surrounded a house in the Magdush neighbourhood in Balata camp. Soldiers broke into neighbouring houses and broke windows and doors.

19:10 Twenty-two year old Mohammad Subkhi Abu Hanade was shot in the chest with live ammunition while he was in his home by a sniper in an occupied house adjacent to his. A medical team and international volunteers who were in the vicinity say that the atmosphere was quiet when they heard two shots followed by screaming coming from the house. They immediately came in and found Abu Hanade bleeding heavily. After Mohammad was evacuated, a pregnant woman in the house went into what seemed to be shock induced labor and was also evacuated to hospital. They saw no weapon, nor any apparent reason for the shooting. Israeli soldiers subsequently ordered Mohammad’s family, a total of 12 people including two small babies, out of the house at 20:45 and detained them in the street for an hour and a half.

In several instances, soldiers drove through the camps cursing the residents’ mothers and sisters in Arabic in what seemed to be an attempt to provoke the youth to throw stones. The volunteers have witnessed no armed resistance, only youth throwing stones and building barricades.

On the third day of the military invasion, Feb 21st, 16 year old Kamal Khalili was shot in his chest with live ammunition at 11:00 this morning in Balata Camp while throwing a stone at Israeli soldiers. He is now brain dead.

According to Dr. Ghassan Hamdan head of the Nablus UPMRC nine other youths were injured today, at least four of them with live ammunition. Dr. Hamdan Says that this brings the total of injured people to 64. The military has occupied over 60 homes.

After three days of confrontations between the camp youth and the military the Israeli military withdrew from Balata at 17:00 on February 21st. They wounded at least another four people during there retreat. However, this was only round one of the invasion of Balata. See next report for information on the second invasion.

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3. A victory for Non violence in Beit Sira

In the village of Beit Sira Monday night, February 20th, the Israeli forces began tearing up the road connecting the village to the Latroun Area. The Route of the wall in Beit Sira is designed to annex the Makabim settlement and more of Beit Sira’s land to Israel. The villagers have responded with continuous non violent resistance and have succeeded in stopping the destruction for considerable lengths of time.

At 8:30 the following morning around 100 villagers gathered near the portion of the road that had been destroyed.

The DCO arrived and informed the people that the road would be destroyed in order to make space to replant some of the several hundred trees which are scheduled to be bulldozed as part of the construction of the annexation wall.

The village responded to this news by setting up a protest tent between the olive trees slated for destruction next to the road.

For most of the day there was little interference from the soldiers. In the afternoon soldiers arrived with an order stating that the road and the land between the road and the path of the wall was a closed military zone and the tent needed to be moved. After some negotiations between members of Beit Sira’s Popular Committee and the soldiers, the tent was moved out of the closed military zone and the non-violent demonstration continued.

Eventually the situation escalated with soldiers firing rubber bullets at youth throwing stones. Israeli forces also fired tear gas at non-violent demonstrators after the villagers had ended the demonstration, packed up the tent and were heading back to the village. No one was injured or arrested.

The following day, Wednesday the 22nd, the non-violent protest continued. At 11 am approximately 60 Palestinians, and ten Israeli and international solidarity activists marched from the village to the road. When they reached the road they found bulldozers at work tearing up more of the road. A protest tent was set up in the middle of the road and demonstrators sat in the tent and in the road. The village succeeded in stopping the work of the bulldozers for the entire afternoon.

A group of youth were returning to the village and soldiers began violently pushing them off of the road. While attempting to de-escalate the situation, an Israeli and an international were violently detained. Several soldiers held the international, pushing his face into the gravel road causing his face to bleed. They were released soon after without being charged.

The demonstration was completely non-violent, not a single stone was thrown all afternoon.

On Thursday February 23rd, At 9 in the morning the demonstration began, marching from the village to the road. The demonstration succeeded in stopping the work of the bulldozers on the road. The Israeli army fired live ammunition into the air, threw many sound grenades and violently pushed the peaceful demonstrators. The village continued to peacefully block the road. The peace tent was brought and again set up in the middle of the road.

There was a sort of agreement between the DCO and the village Popular Committee that the bulldozers would leave the site and the villagers would return to the village. The bulldozers left the road, and for a moment seemed to be following the agreement. But they turned into the field of olive trees and began to uproot them.

The villagers returned and attempted to reach the bulldozers, but the soldiers pushed the demonstrators back and beat them with clubs and sticks. The soldiers fired live ammunition into the air and rubber bullets directly into the crowd of people. They shot tear gas as some people dispersed. 10 people were injured by the rubber bullets, including one hit in the back of the head and one in the face. Several Israeli activists were detained and beaten, 2 were released about 20 minutes later, 2 others, Yonatan Polak and Kobi were arrested and held in police custody until the evening. In response to the soldiers extreme use of violence, only 5 or 10 stones were thrown.

Matan, an Israeli activist said of the demonstration ‘I have never seen anything like it, accept for when the army attacked us not one stone was thrown. 10 year old boys were watching over the telling 6 year old boys and telling them not to throw stones.’

The villagers regrouped on the road and continued to demonstrate peacefully until the popular committee decided to return to the village and continue the struggle tomorrow.

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4.Ten anti-separation fence protesters hurt in clash with IDF
February 23rd, 2006
By Arnon Regular, Haaretz Correspondent see: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/686587.html

At least ten people – Israelis and Palestinians – sustained light injuries Thursday afternoon in a clash with Israel Defense Forces troops at a separation fence construction site, between the Palestinian village of Beit Sira and the town of Maccabim, within the Green Line.

Dozens of “Anarchists Against the Fence” activists and some 200 village residents clashed with the troops, who were securing the bulldozers paving the route of the fence.
The forces fired rubber coated bullets and sprayed tear gas at the protesters. The protest delayed construction work at the site by several hours.

According to a report published this week by the human rights groups B’Tselem and Bimkom, the main consideration behind the route for “numerous segments” of the separation fence was settlement expansion.

The report, entitled “Under the Guise of Security: Routing the Separation Barrier to Enable Israeli Settlement Expansion in the West Bank,” looks at four areas: the settlements Tzofin and Alfei Menashe near Qalqilyah, Modi’in Illit and the separation fence surrounding the Neveh Yaakov neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. The conclusion: a direct link between the route already built by the Defense Ministry and the future master plans for those settlements.

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5. More Arrests in Bil’in
February 23rd, 2006
The Israeli Army entered the village of Bil’in last night at 3am and arrested 2 people as they were walking home from the Bilin outpost, Sharar Hassan Dawoud Mansour, age 22, and Wal’el Fahmi Abd Almajid Naser, age 29.

Earlier yesterday, 6 Bil’in villagers were released after serving a sentence of 4 months in prison and paying a fine of 1000 NIS each. The 6 released people are three brothers, Faraj, Fadel, and Hassan Awad Yasin, ages 20, 26 and 29, Jawad and Mohammed Emran Khatib, also brothers ages 20 and 23, and Mohammed Khalid Abu Rahma, age 20. There are still 6 additional people in jail from the village of Bil’in, bringing the total number to 8.

Last nights arrests are part of an ongoing intimidation campaign by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian Non-violent resistance to the confiscation of their land by the annexation wall.

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6. The Joint Struggle and the Non-Violent International Struggle Against the Occupation
February 20-21

Over the past two days, an international conference was held in Bil’in about and in solidarity with the struggle against the Wall. It was organized by the Bil’in joint project of struggle against the fence, which for the last 12 months has been carried on by the local popular committee.

The conference was held over two days at the public school in the village of Bil’ín. It consisted of a few opening presentations followed by workshops focusing on the non-violent struggles taking place in different locations. The workshops were the main part of the conference and were where activists shared their experiences and discussed new ideas.
Besides local activists and AATW activists, the conference in Bil’in included participants from many Western countries and, more importantly, from people in local struggles from the other regions of Palestine – from Hebron (Halil) in the south to Jenin in the north.
Talks were given at a preliminary session by former and current Palestinian Legislative Council members and by international guests involved in our common struggle in their own countries. Grassroot activists reported on their local struggles. The main discussions took place in workgroups, each centered on the struggle along a specific part of the separation fence.
And true to the Bil’in mode, the conference could not end without a march towards the route of the fence, which took place around noon on the second day of the conference. Surprise, surprise it met with no resistance from the State forces. We crossed the route and continued on to the Bil’in centre for joint struggle for peace which was recently built on the western side of the fence. The centre was built on a plot adjacent to the building site of a sector of the illegal settler colony, Modi’in Illit, being built on land stolen from Bil’in.
But no, the Israeli State’s armed forces did not totally desert us. Though they did not try to block our march, they circled around us, putting a line of soldiers west of our meeting at the Bil’in centre, arranging it as if to block our way if we tried to rush and attack the adjacent illegal buildings in the nearby section of the Modi’in Illit settler colonialist town. (This section is currently under an injunction from the highest court, banning all construction work and occupation.)
At the meeting near the centre some more speeches were made. After the talks ended, a soccer game was played and an opportunity was given to media workers to take their photographs, videos and interviews. People then got back to Bil’in and made their way home.
Below is the conference program:

Day 1: Monday, February 20th
9:00-10:30, Opening session: Overview
Welcome message : Abdullah Abu Rahme
The history of the Palestinian popular struggle: Kadura Faris
The history of Joint Israeli Palestinian struggle: Uri Avnery
Israel’s Apartheid wall: Dr. Mustafa Bargouti
The political situation after the Palestinian elections: Qais Abu Leila
World media and the popular struggle in Palestine: Kasem El Hatib

11:00-12:15 Presentations session
Representatives of struggles at different areas of Palestine and outside of Palestine gave short 5-10 minute introductions to the struggle in their area.
North Palestine: Nawaf Suf
Bil’in: Muhamad Khatib
Mesafer Yata: Hafez Hereini
Tel Rumeida: Hani Abu Haikal
Outside Palestine: Neta Golan
12:45-14:00 First workshop session:
The pros and cons of joint struggle. What constitutes a joint struggle, what advantages it has and what disadvantage? What problems are encountered in the course of joint struggle and how they can be dealt with? The list of workshops were:
Salfit,
Hares,
Bil’in,
Jerusalem Region,
South Hebron,
Outside Palestine and Israel.

15:30-16:45 Second Workshop session:
The practice of non violent resistance in the struggles and brainstorming for new ideas and methods, a discussion of tactics which have been tried and how successful they were.
17:15-18:30 Concluding session:
Representatives from each workshop presented the results of the discussions to the whole assembly.
19:30-21:00 A presentation of a movie by Bil’in photographer Imad Burnat.

Day 2 Tues February 21st
9:00-11:00 Presentation of findings Beir Zeit university researchers about weapons used against demonstrators in Bil’in.
11:00 Bil’in villagers will inaugurated a football field on land cut off from their village by the route of the Annexation Barrier. The football game was played by the Israeli, Internationals and Palestinian participants of the Conference as Israeli soldiers sulked in the background because they could not join the fun!

THE END

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7. Jordan Valley Farmers March to live

Wednesday February 22nd at 11:00 Jordan Valley Farmers marched to the Bradala checkpoint to non-violently protest the annexation of their lands to Israel. Approximately 40 farmers faced Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint. Farmers in the Jordan valley have been Isolated from the rest of the west bank and at the same time prevented from selling their produce to Israel.

“Israel is leaving no way for these farmers to live” Says Ahmed Sawaft Director of PARC (Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees) in Tubas: “This closure is causing an agricultural and economic disaster for the area.”

The Israeli military has defacto annexed the Jordan valley to Israel by denying access to the Jordan valley to any Palestinian but registered residents for the last seven months and has prevented the Palestinian farmers from transferring their produce through the Bardala checkpoint for four months.

Israel’s acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmart has announced that in his parties vision of “the final borders of Israel” The Jordan valley will remain within Israel’s borders.

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8. Pictures From a Tour Bus Window

February 22nd, 2006

For photos taken from a bus window in Beit Hanina/Jerusalem on Saturday see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/02/22/pictures-from-a-tour-bus-window/
These photos of Palestinian men forced to lie face down on the ground by masked Israeli police ,were taken from a bus window in Beit Hanina/Jerusalem on Saturday. the eyewitness who took these photos spoke with Neve Yaakov Police Station. They said it was an undercover operation against “suspects”.