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Small Incursion in Beit Ummar

by Jonas and Signifier

Yesterday June 12, at approximately 3:00pm in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, Isreal Occupation Forces shot tear gas cannisters at two human rights workers (HRW) that were sitting and eating plums in a backyard. As the activists attempted to cover the fume-spewing cannisters, three Palestinain children, the apparent targets of the noxious projectiles, ran by and another cannister landed at the feet of the HRWs.

Six other HRWs were 5minutes away meeting and gathering information with the family of Yusef Abu-Maria, who has been incarcerated by the Israel Occupation Forces for 15 days. These HRWs were called and informed of the situation back at the house. The HRWs proceeded to run back to their home.

The tear-making, breath-shortening projectiles were the sign of a mini-incursion into Beit Ummar by the IOF. This has become a routine occurence since villagers started protesting the wall that is being built around the nearest settlement that will destroy and annex villagers’ land. When the six HRWs arrived back at the house, the fumes were still radiating from the home and family members were cleaning the floors and mattresses to expel the undulating fumes.

Meanwhile, approximately twenty armed Israeli soldiers entered the village in armored hummers. The soldiers began to canvas the streets and some homes. Two or three Israeli police cars also arrived. The kids and teens began throwing rocks and approximately seven HRWs were present and filming. The soldiers responded to the rocks with disproportionate force, firing rubber bullets and sound bombs at the children in the street, lasting for over an hour.

Additionally, the car window of Mahmoud, a Palestinian taxi driver, was smashed by an IOF Hummer, with the front end of the car badly damaged. Mahmoud was transferred by the soldiers to the DCO. Four HRWs and Mahmoud’s brother drove to the DCO to seek information.

After about 90 minutes of waiting oustide, Mahmoud was released.