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Israeli forces attack Ni’lin

3rd February 2009 | Ni’lin

On the 3rd of February the Israeli Occupation Forces attacked Ni’lin, shooting teargas and entering the outskirts of the village. The incursion disrupted life as people were going to the medical clinic, working or attending their land and as the army withdrew they shot live ammunition at the people who went to protest their presence.

At noon the army came through the olive field approaching the village of Ni’lin. Soldiers started firing teargas at the medical clinic where people were going about their daily business. People were forced to run to the clinic or turn back during the attack. Construction workers building the new school near the clinic were targeted making the situation dangerous as they were on scaffolding or on the roof if the gas affected them. The military action prompted people in the village who heard the attack to organize a protest to their presence and gathered at the medical clinic. The army shot more gas, then occupied the medical centre, chasing and shooting the demonstrators as they escaped down the hill through the cemetery. From the medical clinic the army continued to shoot teargas into the village before they withdrew.

A woman had been in the olive field with her goats and became trapped behind the army during the attack on the village. Three women, including an international activist, went to make sure she would be able to return to the village safely. After finding the woman they started walking back. The group was stopped by the army with soldiers were waving with sound bomb,s threatening to use them if the women continued the path back to the village.

The army entered the village again on the outskirts, shooting teargas and throwing sound bombs in the streets closest to the olive field. At around 5pm the army moved back and demonstrators succeeded in reaching the construction site of the illegal Apartheid Wall before the army dispersed them with teargas and fired live ammunition in the air. The demonstrators were moving back to the town and were on a large hill in the olive field where they were joined by two Israeli activists. The army continued shooting teargas as they pursued the demonstrators and then started shooting live ammunition as it was becoming dark. Demonstrators and international activists lay flat on the ground in fear of being hit before they managed to make it back to the village at 5.45pm.

The village of Ni’lin has been resisting the construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall since May 2008. The Wall will annex much farmland and make Ni’lin accessible only by road through a tunnel. Ni’lin has suffered greatly from the construction and the occupation as four youths were killed during demonstrations. The continual use of live ammunition against demonstrators shows Israel’s contempt for non-violent resistance to the occupation.