21 January 2009
On Wednesday, 21 January 2009, at 12.30, residents of Ni’lin, along with international and Israeli solidarity activists, gathered to demonstrate against the construction of the Apartheid Wall. The demonstration began in the olive fields but was forced back when the Israeli army shot teargas and threw sound bombs. After the demonstration began, the army invaded the town from the fields and the checkpoint at the entrance of the village, firing tear gas canisters, rubber coated steel bullets and plastic coated steel bullets. The army proceeded towards the centre of the town, shooting at houses and cars. Israeli forces arrested three Ni’lin residents who were not participating in the demonstration and injured nine individuals.
Around 60 demonstrators peacefully marched into the olive fields carrying flags and chanting slogans against the Wall. As they approached the construction site, protesters were confronted by soldiers. The army shouted at the demonstrators to end their peaceful protest and quickly proceeded to use weapons against the individuals.
The demonstrators were forced to head back to the town and the army followed them. The soldiers fired excessive amounts of tear gas, sound bombs and rubber coated steel bullets, aiming directly at people. In all, four were injured with rubber coated steel bullets and five were hit with teargas canisters; one of whom had to be taken to Ramallah hospital. Several cars and shop windows from the shooting. One teargas canister ignited a fence that had to be put out by a fire engine. The army came further into the town, driving a jeep into the town centre, where soldiers continued firing before they eventually withdrew.
The three arrested individuals were playing pool in the local pool club at the time of the demonstration. According to two medics who were inside the pool club, the soldiers fired teargas and rubber bullets into the building, hitting one person in the leg. The army then entered the building and arrested three Ni’lin residents.
This is the second invasion of Ni’lin in one week. The Occupation is collectively punishing the Palestinians of Ni’lin for their resistance to the Apartheid Wall. When completed, the Apartheid Wall will annex land belonging to villagers. Furthermore, the simultaneous establishment of the Apartheid Wall and a tunnel will allow the Israeli army to bar all but one connection leading to complete control over movement for Ni’lin residents.