International Solidarity Movement
26 February 2010
Approximately 50 Palestinians and 20 Israelis and Internationals gathered in the West Bank village of An Nabi Salih to protest the further appropriation of their land and natural spring by the illegal Israeli settlement of Hallamish. The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) used tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse the protesters. There was no obvious justification for aggression from the Israelis.
Hallamish, illegal under international law like all Israeli settlements, has expanded toward and is increasingly taking control of Palestinian lands. A small group of Palestinians gathered after Friday prayer to make a symbolic march toward these lands. Men, women and children marched away from An Nabi Salih and descended into a valley towards their fields. IOF soldiers began firing tear gas from the road below. The protesters spread out across the side of the mountain and the soldiers advanced, firing tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Several Palestinians and one International suffered injuries from the rubber bullets.
Soldiers surrounded a house on the edge of the village which contained women and children. After firing several tear gas canisters and a sound bomb in the doorway of the home, the soldiers proceeded to enter the village. Over thirty tear gas canisters were launched simultaneously from the top of a specialized IOF vehicle into the yards of villagers, as Palestinian youth resisted the invasion with stones.
After Palestinians had returned to their homes, the army re-entered the village to fire a final round of tear gas on the peaceful town.
The rubber-coated steel bullet injuries included head wounds on a young protester, and several dozen suffered tear gas inhalation.
The hilltop village of An Nabi Salih has a population of approximately 500 residents and is located 30 kilometers northeast of Ramallah along highway 465. The demonstration protested the illegal seizure of valuable agricultural land and the January 9th 2010 uprooting of hundreds of the village resident’s olive trees by the Hallamish (Neve Zuf) settlement located on highway 465, opposite An Nabi Salih. Conflict between the settlement and villagers reawakened in the past month due to the settler’s attempt to re-annex An Nabi Salih land despite the December 2009 Israeli court case that ruled the property rights of the land to the An Nabi Salih residents. The confiscated land of An Nabi Salih is located on the Hallamish side of highway 465 and is just unfortunately one of many expansions of the settlement since it’s establishment in 1977.