8 July 2009
Although there are weekly demonstrations every Friday in Ni’lin, on Wednesday, around 40 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals activists went out to protest against construction of the Apartheid Wall that Israel is building on Ni’lin village lands. The protesters managed to reach the Wall and cut a part of the razor wire. The Israeli forces shot tear gas and 0.22 calibre live ammunition at demonstrators but no one was seriously injured.
The demonstration began at 11 am in the center of the village; demonstrators marched along the main road and continued to their olive groves, shouting slogans against the Occupation and the Wall. Upon reaching the Wall, one jeep was visible but a second jeep arrived shortly thereafter.
Israeli forces fired large amounts of tear gas on all sides of the demonstrators, effectively surrounding the protesters in with gas. They were also aiming tear-gas canisters directly at the protesters. Many people narrowly avoided being struck in the head with these canisters. The young Palestinian men responded to the military violence by throwing stones at the military vehicles that drove underneath the Wall, on the road.
Towards the end of the demonstration, 5 or 6 military vehicles were positioned on the road near the Wall.
After this, most of the group was driven back with large amounts of tear gas, and it was difficult to get near to the Wall again. The group was separated, and attempted to reform to the left of the fence, but retreated when the soldiers fired 0.22 calibre live ammunition.
Israeli forces commonly use tear-gas canisters, rubber coated steel bullets and live ammunition against demonstrators.
To date, Israeli occupation forces have murdered five Palestinian residents and critically injured 1 international solidarity activist during unarmed demonstrations in Ni’lin.
- 29 July 2008: Ahmed Mousa (10) was shot in the forehead with 5.56mm caliber live ammunition and pronounced dead upon arrival at a Ramallah hospital.
- 30 July 2008: Yousef Amira (17) was shot in the head with two rubber coated steel bullets. He died in a Ramallah hospital 5 days later on 4 August 2008.
- 28 December 2008: Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22) was shot in the back with 5.56mm caliber live ammunition and pronounced dead upon arrival at a Ramallah hospital.
- 28 December 2008: Mohammed Khawaje (20) was shot in the head with 5.56mm caliber live ammunition. He died in a Ramallah hospital 3 days later on 31 December 2008.
- 13 March 2009: Tristan Anderson (37), an American citizen, was shot in the head with a high velocity tear gas projectile. He is currently at Tel Hashomer hospital with an unknown
- 5 June 2009: Yousef Akil Srour (36) was shot in the chest with 0.22 caliber live ammunition and pronounced dead upon arrival at a Ramallah hospital.
In total, 35 people have been shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition in Ni’lin: 7 were shot with 5.56mm caliber live ammunition and 28 were shot with 0.22 caliber live ammunition.
Since May 2008, residents of Ni’lin have been organizing and participating in unarmed demonstrations against construction of the Apartheid Wall. Despite being deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, the Occupation continues to build the Wall, further annexing Palestinian land.
Ni’lin will lose approximately 2,500 dunums of agricultural land when construction of the Wall is completed. Israel annexed 40,000 of Ni’lin’s 58,000 dunums in 1948. After the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, the illegal settlements and infrastructure of Kiryat Sefer, Mattityahu and Maccabim were built on village lands and Ni’lin lost another 8,000 dunums. Of the remaining 10,000 dunums, the Occupation will confiscate 2,500 for the Wall and 200 for a tunnel to be built under the segregated settler-only road 446. Ni’lin will be left with 7,300 dunums.
The current entrance to the village will be closed and replaced by a tunnel to be built under Road 446. This tunnel will allow for the closure of the road to Palestinian vehicles, turning road 446 into a segregated settler-only road . Ni’lin will be effectively split into 2 parts (upper Ni’lin and lower Ni’lin), as road 446 runs between the village. The tunnel is designed to give Israeli occupation forces control of movement over Ni’lin residents, as it can be blocked with a single military vehicle.