On Friday 12 December 2008 at 12 o’clock approximately 200 villagers from Ni’lin together with 15 internationals and Israelis protested against the construction of Israel’s illegal Apartheid Wall on their land.
The level of violence from the Israeli army was high from the beginning of the demonstration. They shot live ammunition in the air regularly for the entire 5 and half hours the protest lasted. The shots increased in the last hour when soldiers were very close to the protesters who were pushed back to the outer houses in the village from the olive field.
Huge amounts of round, plastic coated steel bullets, rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas were shot at the demonstration, starting even before the demonstrators had gathered by the local clinic.
At least 10 demonstrators including two Swedish and a Scottish solidarity activist were hit with plastic and rubber coated steel bullets. Tear gas was also shot at people’s homes, two of which had to be evacuated due to the gas.
Today’s demonstration started with a prayer by the local clinic. Nine Soldiers were already present on a hill top in front of the clinic and started shooting tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets at the children in the fields about half an hour before the prayer started.
Members of the Popular Committee changed the protest route to avoid the tear gas and the non-violent demonstrators got almost all the way down to the construction site of the illegal apartheid wall before the army stopped them.
The army shot live ammunition in the air and plastic coated steel bullets at head height to push back the protest.
When the demonstrators were pushed back to the village the army continued the use of live ammunition.
The soldiers shot round steel bullets covered in a thin layer of plastic at the heads of the demonstrators. A 15-year-old boy was hit right under the eye with such a bullet and had to have six stitches at the local clinic.
One family had a window broken by a tear gas canister causing an old woman and two children to suffer from heavy tear gas inhalation.
A woman in another house fainted when gas was fired into her home.
B’Tselem have previously released a statement highlighting the use of rubber-coated steel bullets in Ni’lin.
The villagers of Ni’lin have protested against the construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall since May 2008 that with its completion will annex more than 90 percent of their land. In August 10-year-old Ahmed was killed by a live bullet shot in his head from a short distance, at his funeral 17-year-old Yousef was also shot in the head with rubber coated steel bullets and later died at the hospital.
There is an Israeli military order for IOF forces to use live ammunition against Palestinian demonstrations unless internationals or Israelis are present.
In order to draw use from the clear racism in this law and attempt to give a level of security to the Palestinians who are using their right to protest, internationals have been present in solidarity with the Palestinians to every protest at Ni’lin.