21 August 2009
Around 12:30 on Friday, 140 Ni’lin villagers, together with international and Israeli solidarity activists, gathered after the prayer to demonstrate against the Apartheid Wall. The march went through the fields of Ni’lin and reached the wall site without incident. The Wall was finished in May 2009 as an electric fence with video cameras and a road where the army patrol. Although it seems finished, last Monday Israeli forces began adding 8 meter high blocks of concrete. Right after the demonstrators have reached the wall, several army jeeps started shooting, using the multiple tear gas machine. Israeli soldiers kept shooting tear gas grenades from the road at the demonstrators and eventually they came into the fields through a Wall gate and threatened the protesters with live ammunition guns. All internationals and Israelis left around 5pm, although the demonstration went until 7pm. During the time that there were just Palestinians in the fields, Israeli soldiers used the high velocity tear gas projectile and live ammunition. The high-velocity tear gas canister was not used in Ni’lin since the end of May when Basem Abu Rahme, a Bil’in demonstrator was murdered with one.
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.