International Solidarity Movement
26 February 2010
Nearly 100 youth of Ni’lin were tear gassed and shot at with rubber-coated steel bullets as the IDF attempted to invade their village. Near the edge of the village, the soldiers scaled a house to attack the demonstrators from a heightened vantage point.
Undeterred by inclement weather, residents of Ni’lin attempted to reach the Apartheid Wall for their weekly demonstration. The rolling thunder accentuated their chants which demanded justice, the destruction of the wall that kept them from their crops and to be heard. However, the protest’s course was redirected after the Israeli soldiers brought two military jeeps and tried to enter the village.
The Palestinian protesters walked up to the gate of their village where they were met with volleys of tear gas. The demonstration retreated, and the Israeli forces moved forward, entering a Palestinian home, climbing onto the roof and firing down into the street. Other soldiers moved behind buildings to fire on the protesters from the side. At this point, the Palestinians built an improvised road blockade to stop the soldiers from advancing further into their village. This was successful, and prevented the military from wreaking further havoc on villagers in their residences. This position was held for approximately two hours, after which residents returned home and soldiers moved out of the area.
Israel began construction of the Wall on Ni’lin’s land in 2004, but stopped after an injunction order issued by the Israeli Supreme Court (ISC). Despite the previous order and a 2004 ruling from the International Court of Justice declaring the Wall illegal, construction of the Wall began again in May 2008. Following the return of Israeli bulldozers to their lands, residents of Ni’lin have launched a grassroots campaign to protest the massive land theft, including demonstrations and direct actions.
The original route of the Wall, which Israel began constructing in 2004, was ruled illegal by the ISC, as was a second, marginally less obtrusive proposed route (http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.php?recordID=622). The most recent path, now completed, still cuts deep into Ni’lin’s land. The Wall has been built to include plans, not yet approved by the Army’s planning authority, for a cemetery and an industrial zone for the illegal settlement Modi’in Ilit.
Since the Wall was built to annex more land to the nearby settlements rather than in a militarily strategic manner, demonstrators have been able to repeatedly dismantle parts of the electronic fence and razor-wire surrounding it. Consequently, the army has erected a 15-25 feet tall concrete wall, in addition to the electronic fence. The section of the Wall in Ni’lin is the only part of the route where a concrete wall has been erected in response to civilian, unarmed protest.