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Ni’lin demonstrates against the Apartheid Wall

28 August 2009

Around 250 Palestinian residents, alongside international and Israeli solidarity activists, gathered in Ni’lin to demonstrate against the Apartheid Wall around 12:30. Demonstrators marched towards the site of the Wall chanting slogans against the Occupation. Israeli forces used tear-gas grenades, sound bombs, tear-gas canisters and live ammunition against the unarmed protesters. Despite the excessive use of weapons from the Israeli army, no demonstrators were injured. The protest finished around 4:30.

After a prayer was held in the Ni’lin olive groves, demonstrators marched towards the Wall with tires and flags. Before reaching the Wall, Israeli forces stationed on Ni’lin’s land shot tear-gas canisters at the protesters. A smaller group proceeded to the 8-meter high concrete blocks that run the length of where the previous fence was built.

Construction of the cement blocks began less than 2 weeks ago, further disconnecting Ni’lin residents from their land. While access to the Ni’lin land past the Wall is completely blocked by Israeli occupation forces, the concrete wall prevents residents from being able to see their land in many spots along the Wall.

Several protesters placed burning tires on the foundation of the concrete blocks. One Palestinian activist, with the help of several others, climbed the Wall to place a Palestinian flag at the top. Additionally, several Ni’lin residents threw paint at the military jeeps.
While the smaller group was at the site of the Wall, the rest of the demonstrators were closer to the village in the olive groves. Israeli forces continuously shot tear-gas grenades and canisters at demonstrators. The army shot several bullets of live ammunition towards protesters.

Eventually, both groups were pushed up a hill by Israeli soldiers firing tear-gas. At around 4:30 in the afternoon, demonstrators went back to the village to prepare for the Ramadan meal, Iftar.

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.