Home / Israeli settlers harrass olive-pickers in Hebron

Israeli settlers harrass olive-pickers in Hebron

1. Israeli settlers harrass olive-pickers in Hebron
2. Stef’s Blog: settler road block temporarily becomes Israeli law
3. “The only way to live” — fear and fury in Urif and Asira
4. Negotiating Daily Life: Land Access and Checkpoint Encounters
5. International actions against Gaza massacres and Apartheid Wall
6. Scottish olive volunteer to be deported
7. “The truth is plain for anyone to see” — account of Israeli incursion into a Nablus refugee camp
8. Al Haq: Legal challenge to British government support of Israel
9. Israeli police break up non-violent student demonstrations in Jerusalem
10. Anti-wall demonstration in Bil’in suffers from Israeli violence


1. Israeli settlers harrass olive-pickers in Hebron

by ISM Hebron, November 11

At 7.45am our neighbours, the Abu Haikels, began to pick olives from one of their trees, by which a Israeli military outpost is placed. At the same tree, we filmed settlers stealing olives two weeks ago. The Palestinians had to wait a week for the military and police to agree to let them pick their own olives. The soldiers had promised that they would protect them as they picked. At 8.15am, settlers surrounded the tree. They kicked over a bucket of picked olives and trampled them into the ground.

The international human rights worker (HRW) on the road watching school children spotted what was happening and alerted the rest of the team who then filmed from the apartment. Another HRW went up the hill to the Palestinian’s house. He was able to film from their garden.

The Palestinians asked the settlers to leave their land and a fight ensued. Border Police and soldiers arrived and separated Palestinians from settlers. One Palestinian man and a settler were arrested for fighting. The soldiers formed a line and moved the Palestinians back from the tree. They continued to allow the settlers to trespass and trample the olives.

The Palestinian family called Rabbis for Human Rights, who spoke to the DCO and alerted the press to what was happening.

Eventually the Border Police asked the Palestinians to move off the land. They threatened to arrest the HRW who was filming with them unless she left too, which she did. Once the field was clear the police and soldiers moved the settlers off the land. At this point they allowed the family back and they continued to pick the olives.

Four press photographers arrived too late — two from AFP and two from Reuters.

Once the first tree was finished the family moved around the corner away from the settlement and picked another large tree and two small ones. They finished picking around 4pm. They have picked most of their olives now and were happy with the harvest at the end of the day. However, the family is suffering a huge amount of stress from the continual harassment by settlers which is seriously affecting their health.

For photo visit: https://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/11/18/abu-haikal-olives/


2. Stef’s Blog: settler road block temporarily becomes Israeli law

by Stef, Friday, November 10, 2006

On Wednesday I harvested in the village of Qaryot with another international volunteer and 2 Israelis, assisting 80-year-old Salimon, his brother Aziz, and his 27-year-old son Ahmed. We were greeted in the morning with a hearty “Buenos dias!” and warm smiles from the elder men. Both Salimon and Aziz spent 20 years working in Brazil, and during that time were unable to come home to see their children grow up. Between them they have a very large family and over 1,000 trees in the area, which is sandwiched between a few relatively new Israeli settlements. One is called Gilad — an extremist outpost that is illegal even by Israel’s standards.

Salimon and Aziz are friendly men of few words. We spent the day communicating through a bit of Arabic and also Spanish and Portuguese, which both men and some of the volunteers happened to speak. Salimon, whose hospitality is in true Palestinian style, watched us carefully and often re-lit the cigarettes he handed out, which must have gotten damp at some point. Aziz spent the day pruning the trees silently with his small saw, occasionally saying “Aaaiiii-wwaaa, tamam” (yes, good) and “Bueno” (good), when he cut a branch down and volunteers began to pick olives from it.

Earlier in the week Israeli settlers hiked down the hill to throw rocks at Palestinians harvesting in Qaryot, sending one man to the hospital with a head injury. Many families were afraid to return to finish picking, but the brothers who have land in the most dangerous area, were determined to finish.

We began the morning picking close to the settlement road. Within 10 minutes we were approached by three Israeli soldiers and three Israeli border policemen, who told us that we needed to stop for the day. Although we asked to see a court order that stated so, we were offered no explanation except “someone is coming with a map”. The brothers returned to picking and the volunteers attempted to join them. The soldiers demanded that we stop and not touch any olives until more of them arrived with answers to our questions.

Eventually more vehicles of soldiers, border police, and a military lawyer showed up. They also could not answer our questions, and as we stood around waiting and wasting precious picking time, they pulled out a map and started arguing over what to do. The founder of an Israeli human rights group with experience in the area showed up after our phone calls. He negotiated with them over an apparent land dispute that began recently when settlers created a dirt mound roadblock in order to claim some of the land as their own. One soldier even said: “It’s obviously Palestinian land, let’s just let them stay,” but it was decided that we were only allowed to harvest on the other side of the roadblock for the day, closest to the village.

Following the lead of the elders, we agreed and moved to an area that was not claimed by the settlers to continue picking. This felt frustrating since the trees are hundereds of years old like the village, and the settlement is only about 20 years old. Even though some of the soldiers and police disagreed with each other about who the land belongs to, the message this situation sends is pretty clear: it is possible for a simple mound of dirt placed in the road by Jewish extremists to throw legal borders into upheaval, effectively blocking the rightful owners from accessing and harvesting it.

The next day we met Salimon and Aziz again. After a successful negotiation on behalf of the human rights group, we spent the day picking olives beyond the roadblock, on the “disputed” land directly next to the settlement road. This time we brought more volunteers due to the high risk of attack. Throughout the day about two Humvess or jeeps full of Israeli soldiers and police watched us from a short distance. They claimed it was for our protection, but were clearly facing us and watching us with binoculars, not the settlement.

Eventually Aziz picked up his tarp and bucket and walked right over to the settlement entrance road, a couple feet from a guard dogs fence and about 200 feet from the nearest home. This is the closest to a settlement that any family I’ve been with over the last week and a half has dared to work. I get the impression that Aziz is not scared of anything, even though he said that most of his children are afraid to come harvest the land with him. The soldiers and police pulled their vehicles up right next to us, but we ignored them and continued picking until the brothers decided they were finished with the area for the day.

We returned to the village piled onto a tractor with large bags of olives. Aziz’s kaffiyeh blew in the wind as he smiled and waved to greet neighboring farmers. Salimon rode ahead on his donkey. Ahmad reported that we had picked a few hundred kilos of olives, and thanked us warmly for our presence. In the following days we will continue to have an international presence in Qaryot, until all of the olives are picked.

For photos visit: https://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/11/16/dirt-mound/


3. “The only way to live” — fear and fury in Urif and Asira

by ISM Nablus

Urif, 9th November

There is chaos in the air. A couple of the young boys have climbed up to one of the upper ridges of the hillside and are scorching the earth with a small blowtorch — an ancient agricultural technique designed to improve the quality of the soil. “Come down immediately! The settlers will shoot you!” the other villagers shout. But their father, the mayor, is back in the Palestinian village and they will not listen to reason. Everyone has stopped picking now and is gazing warily up toward the Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, straining their eyes to see if there is anyone peering out from under one of the red-tiled roofs, gun in hand. Finally, the boys relent to the ever louder protests coming from the valley and saunter down the hill to join their family and neighbors.

The villagers of Urif have been unable to harvest their olives from the groves near Yitzhar for almost six years. Three years ago, one young man in his early twenties was shot dead by Yitzhar colonists, while three other men were badly injured. The trauma imprinted into the hearts of the people here is readily apparent, despite the rather heavy military and police presence around the groves. Israeli soldiers are stationed at regular intervals along the mountain ridges and police come down to check IDs and expel any non-Palestinian from the area. Unfortunately this also includes international solidarity workers, who are relegated to an area further down the valley.

The Israeli military forces seem largely unaware of the threat they pose to Palestinian villagers, even when their presence serves to deter settler attacks. The valley of olives opens up into a circle of land closed in by a settler by-pass road and several settler outposts. The villagers of Urif seem much more willing to enter this area when soldiers are not present. The days pass as one long series of nervous advances and retreats. As the police jeep drives off, people hastily haul their tarpaulin sheets and buckets off the tractor, picking at the nearest tree and stuffing their olives into anything that will hold them — pockets, plastic bags and headscarves.

A grandmother, stunning in a leopard print pinafore and black eyeliner, stays behind in the valley, touching her heart as she speaks of her children and her fears for their safety. Some of her grandchildren and their friends gather around her, their faces grubby and sweaty from work. Yet they do not pick much these days, able only to gather the confidence and calm needed to concentrate on the harvest for a few minutes at a time. Most of their energy is spent on looking out for settlers and soldiers, talking about what they will do if they do come, making sure that someone stays behind to make sure that their trees are not burned down in retaliation for a successful harvest.

Yesterday afternoon, when the police had left for the day, several Yitzhar settlers ventured into the valley. One was on horseback and rode all around the valley, occasionally stopping to peer down the slope at the Palestinian harvesters, silently slumped in his saddle. Five others were play fighting with each other, kicking and jostling along the roadside. All six of them finally retreated to a tin shack that Yitzhar inhabitants set up only a few days ago, jumping their horse over a fence over and over again and whooping with laughter. The villagers of Urif watched from the other side of the valley, now cold in the shadow cast by the mountain opposite, the smug profile of Yitzhar taunting them as it shone in the afternoon sun.

A row of identical white houses on the rim of a valley. This is the challenge that drives the villagers of Urif to get out of their beds in the morning and face the fear that otherwise would consume them. It’s tiring, as witnessed on the face of mayor Abu Ammar. But, as he says “it is the only way to live. We must go on, or give up and be shamed in front of our children.”

Asira Al-Qibliye, Saturday 11th November

“No, no, I’m not going up there”, our driver says, shaking his head and stepping down from the military-made roadblock. “It is too dangerous. I am sorry, you will have to go on your own.” We look down at the fork in the settler by-pass road. A large sign saying “Yitzhar” points up the hill. On the West side of the road leading up to the Yitzhar colony is a large olive grove with trees in tidy rows, but in order to get there the Palestinian owners of the land, from the village of Asira Al-Qibliye, have to cross one major settler thoroughfare and then trek up along another.

Six years ago, the elderly mother of one of the farmers was shot in the stomach by settlers from Yitzhar and had to undergo extensive surgery. The settlers had come down to physically assault the olive harvesters. Since then, the farmers have been reluctant to go to their land for fear of further settler harassment. The land is overgrown with thorns and untended, yet the branches of the trees still weigh down heavily with big juicy olives.

About twenty women and two men from several different families harvested their olives today, in a big rush to finish before the settlers would detect them. Working quickly and efficiently, and yet still finding the time and composure to sing one or two songs in honour of the beautiful sunny day, they were able to finish without any Israeli interference.

For photos visit: https://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/11/13/fear-fury/


4. Negotiating Daily Life: Land Access and Checkpoint Encounters

by Steph, November 6th

During this last week while I’ve been picking olives in the Nablus area with Palestinian families and occasionally encountering/confronting soldiers, I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of negotiation in daily life here in Palestine, and also about the role of internationals in that. I often find myself in situations where Palestinians ask for us to talk with soldiers in order to help them gain access to a place, but I’m concerned about how this sometimes could be seen as accommodating the occupation.

Here are some examples of situations I’ve been in recently:

Aside from going through checkpoints, one of my first contacts with soldiers this week was during my third day of harvesting, in the village of Tel. Four of us internationals went to Tel because farmers there often have problems crossing the settler road that cuts between their village and most of their agricultural land. Although Palestinians have the right to access their land, this village had reported recent incidents of denied access.

In the morning, we headed down the hill towards the road, a large and lively group of families and donkeys. Just as we began to cross the road, a jeep of four soldiers pulled up and ordered everyone to stop. The 20-minute conversation between the soldiers and us internationals was something to the effect of them telling us they knew that the farmers had the right to cross the road, but insisted they needed to see IDs from the four of us, as well as from the young men in the group. We tried to reason with them, asking that they let the farmers go ahead, but they would not budge.

It went on and on like this for a while. The soldiers took the hawwiyas (ID cards) of two young men, and claimed they had to check on them. Eventually, the villagers decided to turn back and take another route to their land, through a drainpipe under the road. Some farmers explained that the soldiers often deny them the right to cross the street, telling them instead to go under it in this way. I don’t know what the point of this is, other than to make life more difficult for Palestinians.

When we were told that we were cleared to go, we informed the soldiers that we would stay with the 2 men whose hawwiyas they had taken, until they were finished with them. They seemed surprised by this and immediately returned them to their owners, clearly not actually needing to check up on them.

In this case, I wondered what might have happened if we weren’t there, and my question was answered the next day when our contact in Tel called to report an incident in which soldiers held some farmers who were not accompanied by internationals for over an hour, and dumped a few bags of picked olives onto the ground. I’ve learned this week, mostly through the incidents in which we were not present, that the high court decision about farmers’ rights to access their land safely is only selectively enforced. At the same time, it never feels good to try to negotiate with soldiers for rights that Palestinians already legally have, even if it works at the time.

On Saturday evening, on the way home from dinner, we got a call that Sabatash Checkpoint, on the outskirts of the city, was closed and about 200 Palestinians were waiting in the rain and cold. Thinking we might be able to change the situation, we headed over there at 8:45pm. We arrived to a tense situation of about twelve packed taxis and buses in line and over 100 men in the street waiting. Soldiers had blocked the checkpoint with razor wire and were just standing around. It was dark, raining and cold, and the watchtower was shining a spotlight all over the crowd. People who had been there since 2pm told us about an incident earlier in the day when a man was shot in the leg for verbally defending a woman who was touched by male soldiers after refusing to lift up her shirt. Nobody had been allowed through the checkpoint since.

The eight of us walked up to the checkpoint, and a few crossed the razor wire against the soldiers’ orders to go back. We began talking with them, asking why they wouldn’t let anyone through, and trying to appeal to them by explaining that many had been waiting for over five hours in the cold and rain. It took a lot of talking and complaining and negotiating, but within twenty minutes the soldiers agreed to allow the women through, then the university students on buses, the trucks, and finally, after two hours, the shebab (young men).

While it’s clear that the presence of eight American and European activists was a positive force in changing the situation (after nearly seven hours of closure, they reopened it within twenty minutes of our arrival and confrontation), it does not remain in my mind as a success. As we left, I felt uneasy, thinking about all the times we aren’t able to be there to make changes, and then reminding myself that relying on our presence as internationals in order to open checkpoints, grant land access and provide protection, also isn’t a solution to the problem. In fact, it makes me feel even more a part of this brutal occupation.

The next day we were called back to “Sabatash” and told it was once again closed. When we arrived, the lines of people were moving, but slowly. We decided to leave but then realized that the soldiers were not going to let a group of women walk through, claiming that only people in cars could pass. This is a difficult place to get a taxi and it was cold out, so we tried once again to negotiate them through. A soldier told us he needed to stick by his orders, and couldn’t in his conscience allow them through. Most of our responses to him went something like “But isn’t it worse to have on your conscience that you made a group of women with small children stand in the cold?” and “How would you feel if someone made your mother or sister do this?” Eventually, we suggested that the soldiers get a taxi so the women could go through, and they agreed. We left feeling infuriated that it took international activists relentlessly making suggestions and bothering them, to get the soldiers to actually do it. And once again our involvement made a small change in the situation, but not in the occupation or in this all-too-common process.

If I am in a place where I am asked by Palestinians to try to make a difference, and my negotiating or confronting soldiers can make a situation even temporarily better, I of course feel obligated to do it. Meanwhile, I struggle with my part in creating expectations that Palestinians (or internationals) must negotiate for rights that are either already there on paper, or should be. This is also not a sustainable solution, and I hope that we can all continue to use various tactics in order to directly challenge the occupation, even while trying to maintain a basic level of dignity here in daily life.


5. International actions against Gaza massacres and Apartheid Wall

by the ISM media team, November 15th

Last Friday and Saturday actions were held worldwide against the recent atrocities committed by the IOF in Gaza and the illegal Apartheid Wall.

Last Friday in San Francisco a vigil called by Break the Siege and Women in Black took place in front of the Israeli consulate.

In Montreal on Saturday, protestors marched through the streets carrying a symbolic coffin with the writing ‘United Nations’ to represent the international community’s failure to condemn the Gaza atrocities. A vigil was held after the march.

In New York on Saturday a day of action against the Apartheid Wall was held by the Ad-Hoc Coalition for Justice in the Middle East and DRUM (Desis Rising Up & Moving). The day kicked off with a workshop highlighting the parallels between the wall on the US-Mexico border and the Apartheid Wall in Palestine. This was followed by a march through Manhattan carrying a long black cloth “wall” ( for photo see above).

In San Francisco Break the Siege activists took a ten-foot high Apartheid Wall to shoppers.

In London protestors demonstrated outside leading UK corporate sponsor of Israel, department store Marks & Spencer.

In Cardiff, Wales, three soldarity activists locked themselves inside the medieval castle to protest the occupation of Palestinian land.

For photos visit: https://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/11/15/gaza-wall-actions/


6. Scottish olive volunteer to be deported

by the ISM media team, November 15th

Scottish postal worker Theresa McDermont, who came to volunteer for Rabbis for Human Rights during the olive harvest, is to be deported after a judge today rejected her appeal against denial of entry. She is the first volunteer with Rabbis to be deported, according to spokesman Rabbi Arik Asherman.

According to the judge, Theresa ’should have known’ she wouldn’t be allowed in after being previously denied entry, and a recent change of passport was used as further grounds for denying entry.

Consistent with previous Israeli court decisions, the judge specifically mentioned that involvement with ISM is not reason enough to deny entry to Israel. The Israeli police appear to be in defiance of their own court system, as police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in the Jerusalem Post on Monday that “just mentioning the ISM” offers enough suspicion to deny someone’s entry into Israel.

Rosenfeld made the further unfounded allegation that the ISM had “provided terrorist groups with financial aid”. The Israeli authorities have never accused the ISM or its volunteers of funding terrorism in open court. Furthermore, ISM volunteers have not been charged with a crimes in Israeli courts. The ISM has contacted the editors of the Jerusalem Post, but they have yet to publish the facts, maintaining the demonstratively false accusation against ISM on their website, without a reply from ISM.

Israel consistently uses a quasi-legal facade of “secret evidence” in court, and spreads lies in the press in an attempt to discredit the ISM and other human rights groups that support Palestinians.

For photo visit: https://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/11/15/theresa-deportation/


7. “The truth is plain for anyone to see” — account of Israeli incursion into a Nablus refugee camp

by ISM Nablus, November 15th

At 2.30 yesterday morning (the 14th), Israeli forces entered ‘Ein Beit El Ma refugee camp just North of Nablus city center, randomly shooting teargas and live ammunition into the camp as they entered. During the invasion, five people were lightly injured, including a 14-year old girl who was shot in the leg while standing in her hallway.

Israeli snipers took up strategic positions on Palestinian roofs and top-floors, evicting families as they did so. Awoken at gunpoint, men, women and children were forced out of their beds and made to sleep in hallways and storage rooms. One woman and her daughter were startled by a concussion grenade thrown outside their window and, unable to go back to sleep, moved into the living-room. Ten minutes later, 12 soldiers crawled through a large hole in the wall, knocking a heavy wardrobe onto the bed where the two women had been sleeping only moments before. Sledgehammer in hand, the first soldier to enter the home ordered the women to get into the kitchen and locked the door. They were released six hours later.

At least 20 homes were occupied by the Israeli military this morning. One distraught grandmother asked international solidarity workers to check on her three-year old grandson who was being held by Israeli soldiers on the top floor together with his mother and older siblings. After some negotiation, the soldiers left the house, leaving a scene of devastation in their wake that is sadly mirrored in every other neighbouring home. Bullet holes riddle walls and furniture, piles of rubble and shredded martyr posters lie in the alleyways below, children’s bedrooms are overturned.

Brown footprints from army issue boots stain mattresses, shards of glass hang from broken window frames, and grave children’s faces wander around on tired legs, looking up at their parents almost manically cleaning up the reminders of the invasion. Reclaiming some small sense of normality.

Earlier in the morning, a 26-year old PFLP resistance fighter, Baha, was shot in the waist by an Israeli sniper. Denied access to medical assistance, he bled to death an hour later. His mother was accompanied through the camp by solidarity workers in order to be able to say goodbye to her son in peace before the funeral procession. He lay on a mattress among his relatives, his jaw tied up with a bandage and with a determined but calm look on his face, younger than his years. His mother sat beside his head for a long while, stroking his hair and his folded arms, reminding him of something funny he had said last week and beating her cheeks in grief.

Meanwhile, two teenage Palestinian Medical Relief Society volunteers were abducted from where they stood on the outskirts of the camp by Israeli soldiers. They were blindfolded, handcuffed and bundled into a jeep, where they were held until solidarity workers were able to put enough pressure on the Israeli forces to release the volunteers. Six other men were detained inside the camp but released a couple of hours later.

The Israeli forces left the camp at about 11.00am. With teargas still lingering in the air, people stormed out onto the streets to inspect the damage. At least 5 cars had been crushed, dumped upside down or thrown into ditches by bulldozers and the sidewalks were crumbling.

Teary-eyed women and men marched through Nablus behind the stretcher carrying Baha’s body, loudspeakers blaring out a beautiful duet about a mother who loses her son to the struggle. Yet even without music, the solidarity and genuine grief exhibited by neighbours toward one another in the camp is touching and impressive.

As Hassan Ali Khatib, father of six, said “I do not need to take words from outside, or add anything to my story. I speak from my heart and that is enough. The truth here is plain for anyone with eyes to see it.” He had spent the entire night stuck on the far side of “Sabatash” checkpoint, worrying about his children and wife as he received more and more worrying reports from friends in the camp. Sitting on the couch with his youngest daughter beside him he looks up, suddenly optimistic, and starts talking about football. And so everyday life jump starts into action yet again.

For photos visit: https://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/11/15/alein-invasion/

See also this eyewitness account of the same events by the Guardian’s Conal Urquhart:


8. Al Haq: Legal challenge to British government support of Israel

Al-Haq press release, November 15th

Al-Haq is cooperating with solicitor Phil Shiner of the Public Interest Lawyers firm (PIL) as part of its efforts to secure the implementation of the July 2004 International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on Israel’s wall. This court decision found Israel’s construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) to be contrary to international law. Al-Haq has provided PIL with documentation on numerous cases regarding the impact of the Wall. On November 15, 2006, PIL lodged a complaint against the UK government in the High Court in London on behalf of Palestinians suffering as a result of the construction of the Wall.

PIL argued that the UK’s granting of export licenses for the sale of weapons to Israel breaches both its own Consolidated Criteria, as well as principles of international law reflected in the ICJ Advisory Opinion. It argued that the UK government should immediately review the legality and rationality of its arms trade with Israel, in light of clear recent evidence that arms related products from UK based companies are implicated in violations of international humanitarian law carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians in the OPT. When reviewing its actions, the UK government must take full account of its legal obligations as reflected in the ICJ Advisory Opinion.

Al-Haq believes that the action taken by PIL provides hope for the Palestinian people by bringing attention to the lack of respect for international law in the OPT. By holding the UK accountable for its failure to meet its obligations as a third-party state, Al-Haq hopes that the UK and other states will become more mindful of their own international legal obligations with regard to violations carried out in the OPT. Al-Haq would like to express its gratitude and support to PIL for taking this courageous step.


9. Israeli police break up non-violent student demonstrations in Jerusalem

by Ma’an, November 15th

The Israeli occupation police on Wednesday, stopped a peaceful demonstration, organized by hundreds of Palestinian students, commemorating the 18th anniversary of the declaration of Palestinian independence.

The police intervened immediately as the demonstration started, throwing tear gas bombs at the demonstrators in Sultan Solomon Street. They arrested a number of them, charging them with “sedition”.

Israeli police also dispersed another, smaller, demonstration at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Police also arrested two Palestinian students on Zahra Street, for distributing pamphlets, calling for a demonstration to mark the day of independence.

For photo visit: https://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/11/16/indy-day-quds/


10. Anti-wall demonstration in Bil’in suffers from Israeli violence

by ISM Media team, November 17

The demonstration against Israel’s apartheid wall in Bil’in today was resolute, if small. Protesting against the construction of the barrier that is effectively annexing land to Israel for the use of Jewish-only settlements (illegal under international law), the villagers were once again joined by Israeli and international supporters — about 100 demonstrators in total.

Reaching the gate that leads to Bil’in’s agricultural land (now annexed behind the Israeli construction) the protesters were stopped by Israeli soldiers. The troops blocked the gate with a jeep and razor wire, waving their billy-clubs menacingly. Others took a higher position on a ridge of the patrol-road that is part of the construction that the International Court of Justice has ruled illegal.

After a few minutes of chanting against the wall and the Israeli occupation, the demonstrators were attacked by soldiers throwing concussion grenades. A few of the local teenagers retaliated by throwing stones at the well-armed troops. The situation escalated when the soldiers on the ridge started shooting tear-gas canisters and rubber-bullets at the demonstrators, most of whom retreated.

Falling back to the village proper, some of the international demonstrators observed soldiers occupying the roof of a Palestinian home, using it as a vantage point from which to shoot at local children. The children were mostly throwing stones at the soldiers. They do this as a symbol of their rejection of the Israeli military presence in their village and their homes. The international supporters tried to persuade the soldiers to leave the village and stop their violence, but they responded by throwing tear-gas grenades.

Six Palestinians were injured by rubber-bullets, tear gas canisters and shrapnel from the concussion grenades.

For photos visit: https://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/11/17/bilin-17-11/


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