Today, Friday, March 28, 2008 two demonstrators were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets (one seriously), as the second of Tulkarm’s Land Day demonstrations took place in the village of Deir al Ghusun, 8km north of the center of Tulkarm. The focus of the demonstration was against the separation wall – which prevents farmers accessing their land, as well as preventing freedom of movement.
Approximately 100 people took part in the demonstration, which was organized by the local municipality, in conjunction with the local popular committee and heads of political parties in the area. Protesters carried banners that read: “On Land Day we will continue our struggle against the wall; the occupation; and the siege.”
Demonstrators marched to the wall that separates them from their lands and families, chanting and waving flags. As they approached the gate that allows only ten percent of farmers to pass through to their lands on the other side of the wall, Israeli soldiers threw sound bombs into the crowd, causing protesters to scatter. The soldiers then fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters from behind the gate, injuring one man, Fariz Tanib, aged 50 years, in the leg, and an employee of the local municipality, Hazem Omar, aged 41 years, in the forehead. Hazem was rushed to hospital with a head injury that required 4 stitches.
The protest marked a refusal to submit to the loss of land that has occurred since 1948 – when 18,000 dunnums of village land were assigned to Israel by the green line; and more recently in 2004 when the separation wall isolated farmers from an additional 2,400 dunnums of their land, as well as taking 300 dunnums for the route of the wall itself. Abu Sayad, member of the Deir al Ghusun popular committee, says that now there is only 6,000 dunnums left for the village, which has a population of 10,000.
Local political party leaders today committed to continue the demonstrations against the wall weekly.