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Israeli forces shoot protester in the head with tear-gas during Ni’lin demonsration

25 April 2009

On Friday the 25th of April at 12.30 pm the weekly prayer demonstration was carried out in Ni’lin. Approximately 100 Ni’lin residents, accompanied by international and Israeli solidarity activists took part in the demonstration. The Israeli army was already present at the usual prayer site before residents arrived. During the demonstration, Israeli forces shot tar gas canisters directly at protesters, causing four to be injured including one who was shot with a canister in the head. Another 22 were heavily tear-gassed and required medical attention. Rubber coated steel bullets and sound bombs were also used by the army, causing one demonstrator to be shot with a rubber coated steel bullet.

After the prayer, demonstrators were prevented from entering the olive fields by the army. A military incursion into the village caused several residents to throw stones in response. Half of the demonstrators remained inside the village and another half proceeded to the construction site of the Apartheid Wall. On the other side of the construction site, next to the checkpoint between Ni’lin and Tel Aviv, settlers living on Ni’lin’s confiscated land gathered. There was no confrontation between the two groups.

After approximately 30 minutes the demonstrators headed back to the village where the army wear shooting teargas at the protesters in the main street of Ni’lin. At around two o’clock one boy was shot with a teargas canister directly at his head while standing in the main street of the village and had to be taken by the ambulance to the local clinic. He was shot just above the right eye and had to be stitched with 10 stitches. The demonstration moved from the main street up to the clinic.

At around four o’clock the army entered the village main street with one hummer and a jeep firing at the demonstrators through the backdoor of the jeep. The demonstration ended up at the entrance of the village and while the protesters moved back to their homes three Palestinians wear detained at the entrance while coming back from Ramallah. The protest ended at 5.00 pm.

The people of Ni’lin have been demonstrating against the illegal Apartheid Wall since May 2008 that will annex 23 hectares of agricultural land from the village. In addition to the wall two tunnels that are planned as the only entrances in and out of Ni’lin will annex 2 hectares. 432 hectares of farming land have already been annexed by the Israeli state since 1948 leaving Ni’lin with only 23 hectares of land including the land the houses are build on. When the Apartheid Wall is completed it will completely encircle the village together with two roads that can only be used by Israelis. Thesw constructions turn Ni’lin into a small enclave closed off from the rest of the West Bank.