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Demonstrators displace part of Apartheid Wall in Ni’lin

18 September 2009

Around 150 protesters gathered in Ni’lin to protest against the Apartheid Wall. A month ago, the concrete Wall was put up in Ni’lin and this Friday was the first time the demonstrators managed to displace a part of it.

The Friday prayer during Ramadan took place in the olive groves of Ni’lin. The residents of Ni’lin were joined by international and Israeli solidarity activist in the demonstration against the Wall Israeli authorities have built on the village land. The protesters walked carrying Palestinian flags and chanting against the Occupation. Tires were lit on fire and places next to the illegal Wall, whilst a Palestinian flag was placed on top of the Wall.

The Israeli armed forces used a severe amount of tear gas against the protesters and many of them had to receive help from the medical team due to respiratory problems. On several occasions, the soldiers aimed directly at the demonstrations and one international activist and two Palestinians were hit by the tear gas canisters. The army also brought a tanker truck spraying people with stinky chemical water. Some local boys responded to the military violence by throwing stones.

Another group of demonstrators tried to tear down a part of the Wall. With a small pulley system, that was tied to an olive tree. A strong action showing that the Wall can be moved and hopefully one day will not be on the land of Ni’lin or anywhere in Palestine.

Around 3.30pm the Israeli army entered through the Wall, shooting tear gas and chasing some of the protesters back towards the village. The demonstration concluded at 4pm.

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, 40 people have been shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition in Ni’lin: 11 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.