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Um Salamona: Tree Planting met with violence by IOF

By the ISM media team

At approximately 10.30 am a group of about 60 Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals gathered near the Palestinian village of Um Salamona to support Palestinian farmers in their protest against Israeli Apartheid Policy and to help them plant olive trees inside the nearby olive groves. Although these olive groves are part of Palestinian farm land, the farmers are not allowed to enter them since this area is supposed to be separated by the illegal Israeli Apartheid Wall.

As the group of peace activists and Palestinians approached the area of the upcoming Apartheid Wall, about 40 soldiers and border policemen came down the hill to prevent them from going further. The Palestinian land owners asked the soldiers to let them go on to their land. The soldiers either ignored or refused their requests and kept blocking the way. Some Palestinians then started to plant about 20 olive trees on the side of the road, while the rest of the group unsuccessfully negotiated with the border police and soldiers and chanted against the construction of the Apartheid Wall.

On several occasions, the soldiers and border policemen used unprovoked violence against the peaceful demonstrators. Numerous people were pushed to the ground, kicked and beaten. A group of three settlers, standing behind the soldiers, were watching the proceedings and seemed to enjoy the humiliating actions directed at the demonstrators. One border policeman stole the pick of a Palestinian farmer and refused to hand out his property until the end of the demonstration.

Close to the end of the peaceful protest against the robbing of Palestinian farmland and the building of the Apartheid Wall, the Israeli soldiers arrested two Israeli activists and used physical violence to take them to the police car.