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Ni’lin demonstrates against construction of the Apartheid Wall

29 May 2009

Palestinian residents, alongside international and Israeli solidarity activists, gathered to protest construction of the Apartheid Wall in Ni’lin on Friday, 29 May 2009 at 12:30pm. After a prayer on their land, residents and activists marched towards the construction site chanting slogans against the Occupation. Demonstrators were able to reach the Wall and spent most of the demonstration in their olive groves.

Upon reaching the barbed wire that separates Ni’lin from much of their remaining farmland, Palestinian demonstrators cut the wire. In both a symbolic and practical manner, Ni’lin residents sought to reclaim the land that was stolen from them for construction of the Apartheid Wall. According to the 2004 ruling given by the International Court of Justice, the Apartheid Wall is illegal.

After protesters arrived at the site of the Apartheid Wall, Israeli forces began to throw and shoot tear-gas canisters. For several hours, demonstrators remained near the barbed wire despite ongoing shooting from Israeli forces. The army fired tear-gas grenades from a gun, tear-gas canisters and used a machine that discharges 36 tear-gas canisters at once. In response to the army’s violence, some demonstrators threw stones at the army’s jeeps. Several demonstrators required medical attention after being heavily bombarded by tear-gas. Additionally, Israeli forces used 0.22 caliber live ammunition against the protesters.

After leaving the olive groves, demonstrators marched towards the entrance of the village where soldiers are often stationed on Fridays. Several demonstrators threw stones towards the soldiers. Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters and rubber coated steel bullets into the main street at protesters, hitting one demonstrator with a rubber coated steel bullet just below his eye. The demonstration finished around 4:30pm.

Israeli occupation forces have murdered four Ni’lin residents during demonstrations against the confiscation of their land and critically injured one international solidarity activist.

Ahmed Mousa (10) was shot in the forehead with live ammunition on 29 July 2008. The following day, Yousef Amira (17) was shot twice with rubber-coated steel bullets, leaving him brain dead. He died a week later on 4 August 2008. Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22), was the third Ni’lin resident to be killed by Israeli forces. He was shot in the back with live ammunition on 28 December 2008. That same day, Mohammed Khawaje (20), was shot in the head with live ammunition, leaving him brain dead. He died three days in a Ramallah hospital. Tristan Anderson (37), an American citizen, was shot with a high velocity tear gas projectile on 13 March 2009 and is currently in critical condition. In total, 30 persons have been shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition.

Since May 2008, residents of Ni’lin village have been demonstrating against construction of the Apartheid Wall. Despite being deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, the occupation continues to build a Wall, further annexing Palestinian land.

Ni’lin will lose approximately 2500 dunums of agricultural land when the construction of the Wall is completed. Ni’lin consisted of 57,000 dunums in 1948, reduced to 33,000 dunums in 1967, currently is 10,000 dunums and will be 7,500 dunums after construction of the Wall.