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Bil’in demonstration in the press

1. “Australian injured in West Bank protest” From the Australian

2. “Sydney man shot in Israel during protest” From The Age

3. “Hamas Supporters Help Palestinian Gov’t” From The Guardian

4. “Bil’in protest wounds 2 border police” From the Jerusalem Post


1. Australian injured in West Bank protest
From the Australian

May 13, 2006
An Australian has been injured when soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd who were protesting the building of Israel’s West Bank separation barrier, according to *Associated Press* and an activist website.

An *Associated Press* reporter at the demonstration saw four people hit with rubber bullets during the protest, including a photographer.

Activist Philip Reess from Sydney and a Danish national were reportedly hit in the head with the rubber-coated metal balls during the demonstration, said the International Solidarity Movement on its website.

The website report said Mr Reess was shot in the head “as he was running away,” and had been filming the demonstration, held in Bil’in village on the West Bank.

Both injured men are in Tel Aviv’s Tel Hashomer hospital. At least five Palestinian protesters were injured by rubber bullets, while the ISM’s website claims Israeli troops beat protest leaders.

The ISM reports that the bullet which hit Mr Reess caused a hemorrhage, though he is said to be conscious.

Around 300 people were involved in the demonstration.


2.Sydney man shot in Israel during protest
From The Age

May 13, 2006 – 6:19AM

A Sydney man is being treated in an Israeli hospital after being shot in the head during a protest in the West Bank, an activist group says.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) said Israeli soldiers started throwing sound grenades and firing rubber-coated bullets during the demonstration, injuring seven people.

ISM spokeswoman Zadie Susser said Phil Reiss, from Yowie Bay in Sydney’s south, and a Danish demonstrator were seriously injured after being shot in the head at close range with rubber bullets.

Ms Susser said Mr Reiss had been volunteering with the ISM for two weeks and had been filming the demonstration.

“He was standing with a video camera filming and they shot him,” she told AAP.

“Phil walked a little bit then sat down, and me and an Israeli activist helped him get up and the blood was spurting out of his head.

“We got him out of the line of fire and … as we were getting him into the ambulance an Israeli soldier grabbed his long hair and they all tried to stop him from leaving in the ambulance even though they knew he was injured.”

Ms Susser said Mr Reiss had haemorrhaging in his brain and was being treated in Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv.

“We spoke to the doctor a few hours ago and he told us Phil was in a moderate condition,” she said.

“He had haemorrhaging in his brain and they were monitoring him.”

The ISM is a non-violent, Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

The violence occurred during a weekly demonstration protesting against the building of Israel’s separation barrier at the West Bank town of Bilin.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said the injured man was 29 years old. He could not confirm his name at this stage.


3.*Hamas Supporters Help Palestinian Gov’t*
From The Guardian
*Friday May 12, 2006 5:31 PM*

*AP Photo JRL109*


*Associated Press Writer*

NABLUS, West Bank (AP) – Thousands of Hamas supporters rallied in the West Bank Friday, donating money and jewelry to help out the cash-strapped government as the U.N. human rights chief warned Palestinians were on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.

The Hamas-led government is facing a crippling international boycott over its refusal to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

About 5,000 people demonstrated in support of Hamas in the West Bank city of Nablus. As they offered up their money and jewelry, organizers announced over megaphones how much participants were donating while speakers criticized Western economic pressure on the Islamic militant group.

“These donations are our way of telling the world that we can live without them, and our children are paying what the Europeans should be paying,” said Bassam al-Shaqaa, a former mayor of Nablus.

Western nations, which list Hamas as a terror group, have cut off all funding to the Palestinian Authority, and the Israeli government froze its monthly transfer of $55 million it collects in taxes for the Palestinians.

The economic boycott has left the Palestinian government unable to pay salaries of its 165,000 workers, causing a deepening financial crisis throughout the West Bank and Gaza.

Concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation, Western donors agreed this week to resume some humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. But they said no aid will be sent to the Hamas government until it renounces violence, recognizes Israel and accepts past peace agreements.

Meanwhile, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said the rising casualty toll from both Israeli attacks on suspected militants and Palestinian suicide bombings was “unacceptable.”

“Civilians, particularly the most vulnerable, such as children, women and the elderly, should not pay the price for the neglect of human rights and humanitarian obligations,” she said in a statement released at U.N. European headquarters in Geneva.

The statement said Palestinians were “on the brink” of a humanitarian crisis.

Her warning came a day after Palestinian officials said that senior militants imprisoned in an Israeli jail have hammered out a proposal softening Hamas’ rejection of Israel’s right to exist.

If Hamas agrees to the plan calling for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, it would represent a major concession. However, even if the group accepts a two-state solution to the conflict, it is unlikely it would be able to secure a resumption of Western aid without an explicit recognition of Israel.

Top Hamas leaders have not yet responded publicly to the proposal.

Since taking power in March, Hamas has sent conflicting signals about its willingness to accept the international community’s conditions for doing business with it.

While the draft document could signal an important turning point for Hamas, it includes key Palestinian demands that Israel rejects. These include affirmation of the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to return to homes in what is now Israel and a complete withdrawal from all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The prisoners’ document also asserts that Palestinians have the right to attack Israelis in the West Bank, but that Israel itself should be off-limits for bombings and shootings.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he is ready to withdraw from much of the West Bank to make way for an independent Palestinian state, but he plans to keep large blocs of West Bank settlements and holy sites in east Jerusalem.

Hamas leaders in Gaza and the West Bank have previously hinted they might abandon the group’s call for the destruction of Israel. But Khaled Mashaal, the Syria-based leader of Hamas, has rejected any suggestion of moderation.

Attending a conference in Qatar on Thursday, Mashaal made no reference to the prisoner document.

Moderate Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah said he backs the prisoners’ plan, which would authorize him to lead peace talks with Israel. Abbas, who is embroiled in a power struggle with the new Hamas government, has repeatedly urged the group to soften its positions.

Also on Friday, a Palestinian militant was killed during an Israeli raid in Nablus. The army said it shot the man, a member of the Fatah-linked Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, after militants opened fire at troops.

Two Palestinians, an Australian and a Dane were hurt during a protest against Israel’s separation barrier near the West Bank village of Bilin, witnesses said. The four were hurt by rubber-coated steel pellets.

The Israeli military said troops fired rubber bullets and tear gas after protesters tried to tear down barbed wire and threw rocks. Two border policemen were hurt by stones, the army said.


4. Bil’in protest wounds 2 border police
From the Jerusalem Post

Two border policemen were lightly wounded by rocks when some 150 anti-security fence protesters scuffled with security forces on Friday in the Palestinian village of Bil’in.

A French news photographer was also wounded during the protest. Demonstrators claimed that he had been hurt by security forces; the police, however, refuted the protesters’ version of events and said that the photographer had been hit by a rock thrown by the demonstrators, Israel Radio reported.

The protesters also claimed that five of their group had been struck with rods and three others wounded by rubber bullets.

Bil’in has become one of the more volatile foci of protests against the security barrier. Demonstrations against the continued construction of the barrier have become weekly events, and often degenerate into violent altercations