by the ISM media team, November 24th
At today’s weekly protest against the apartheid wall in Bil’in, villagers tried to reach their land on the other side of the wall with a tractor to plough it. Bil’in villagers have been prevented from taking agricultural vehicles through the illegal gates in the wall to work their land, and recently soldiers have also tried to prevent internationals joining villagers on the other side of the wall. Around 50 villagers were joined by international and Israeli activists for today’s tractor-led march to the wall.
As the protesters attempted to remove the razor-wire in front of the gate, soldiers fired multiple sound bombs and used their shields against the non-violent activists. The soldiers refrained however from using tear gas, probably because the wind would have blown it back towards them.
Non-violent activist from Bil’in, Ayad Burnat, was seized and badly beaten by soldiers when he reached the other side of the gate. He was then arrested and is currently in detention in Ofer where he will be held for four days. Villagers have been told Ayad has been charged with throwing stones, a clearly false charge — Ayad was with the peaceful demonstrators the whole time, and often prevents children from throwing stones at Bil’in demonstrations. Today’s arrest follows the targetting of four other activists on Tuesday evening.
The IOF followed up this arbitrary arrest by clambering over the gate to ‘guard’ the razor-wire from further attention.
After the demo soldiers shot 10 children and a journalist with rubber bullets as well as firing tear-gas at residents’ homes on the edge of the village.