7 August 2009
Palestinians, Israelis and international solidarity activists gathered in the fields of Ni’lin for the midday prayer before once again setting off to protest the illegal Apartheid Wall that continues to severe Ni’lin residents from their land.
The demonstrators, numbering approximately 60, took a different route than usual across the fields but were soon met with tear gas and chemical sewage water. The protest was quickly scattered with people running along a large section of the fence shouting and waving flags. The tear gas continued being launched by soldiers under the cover of their armoured vehicles and also by multiple canister launchers atop the same jeeps.
Army action intensified when a Palestinian flag was erected and could not be retrieved by the army. They used more tear gas, sound bombs and rubber coated steal bullets to try, unsuccesfully, to push the protesters away from the wall. It wasn’t until the Israeli army entered onto Palestinian land that the crowd had no choice but to run away, whilst being fired at and pursued by the army. The main group was chased almost all the way back into the village before the army left and the demonstration ended.
Israeli forces commonly use tear-gas canisters, rubber coated steel bullets and live ammunition against demonstrators.
To date, Israeli occupation forces have murdered 5 Palestinian residents and critically injured 1 international solidarity activist during unarmed demonstrations in Ni’lin. In total, 19 people have been killed during demonstrations against the Wall.
- 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.
- 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 near Tel Aviv with uncertain prospects for his recovery.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
In total, 38 people have been shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition in Ni’lin: 9 were shot with 5.56mm caliber live ammunition and 29 were shot with 0.22 caliber live ammunition.
Additionally, Israeli arrest and intimidation campaigns on West Bank villages that demonstrate against the Wall, have led to the arrests of over 76 Palestinians in Ni’lin alone as of June 2009.
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.