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Israeli forces invade Bil’in following Friday demonstration, shoot live ammunition

16 January 2010

Eight demonstrators were injured today in Bil’in along with dozens who suffered tear-gas inhalation during a regular Friday protest against the Wall and subsequent army invasion into the village. The army used live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas grenades and canisters against the unarmed crowd.

The demonstration, called by the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, was joined by dozens of international and Israeli activists. Speeches were made commemorating the Palestinian martyrs, especially the late president Yasser Arafat and Bil’in resident Bassem Abu Rahmah. Bassem died after he was hit by a tear-gas canister the army shot at him from a short distance.

Demonstrators marched towards the site of the Apartheid Wall, carrying a twenty-meter long Palestinian flag. As every Friday, the protesters tried to reach their land confiscated by the Wall and nearby settlements. Immediately after the march arrived, the army, stationed behind the Wall, started shooting tear-gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Four residents of Bil’in, three Palestinian journalists and an Israeli activist were injured. At least one of them had to be taken to the hospital in Ramallah for treatment.

After the demonstration ended, the army entered the village and attempted to arrest two Palestinian activists. When the Israeli and international activists physically intervened in order to stop the arrests, the Israeli soldiers shot live ammunition into the air and attempted to surround the demonstrators.

The Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil’in were also demanding the release of Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the Committee, and Adeeb Abu Rahmah. They also protested against the arrest and continued detention of Ibrahim Ameera, Hassan Moussa and Zaydon Ameera, leaders and members of the Popular Committee in Ni’lin as well as all other Palestinian political prisoners. The Bil’in Popular Committee condemned the latest detention of Tahsin Yaqin, coordinator of the National Popular Committee in north west Jerusalem and the invasion of the houses of Mahmood Zawahreh, Hasan Berjeyyeh and Mohammad Berjeyyeh the leaders of the Popular Committee in al-Ma’asara.