International Solidarity Movement
27 March 2010In recent weeks there has been an escalation of Israeli military violence against the weekly demonstration in the village of An Nabi Saleh, which last week led to 25 injuries, as well as attacks on 12 homes and 3 cars. Despite this, approximately 100 villagers joined the demonstration on Friday and attempted to reach their land, much of which has been stolen by the nearby illegal settlement of Halamish. The Israeli army prevented the demonstration from leaving the village by surrounding it on all sides, and firing large amounts of tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets directly at the demonstrators.
The demonstration was preceded by a press conference in which representatives of the village spoke of the land they have lost, and the importance they attach to continued resistance against the occupation, as manifested in the nearby settlement and the attacks from the Israeli military. Following these speeches, the demonstration began, but quickly came up against a barrage of tear gas from Israeli jeeps which had moved into the village.
Soldiers illegally fired a number of tear gas canisters directly at the demonstration, aiming at the head or chest height of most participants. They also invaded a Palestinian home, and fired down into the central square of the village, where people were gathered near the mosque.
No serious injuries were reported, though a number of villagers suffered respiratory problems due to tear gas inhalation.
The hilltop village of An Nabi Saleh has a population of approximately 500 residents and is located 30 kilometers northeast of Ramallah along highway 465. The demonstrations protest the illegal seizure of valuable agricultural land and the uprooting in January 2010 of hundreds of the village resident’s olive trees by the Hallamish (Neve Zuf) settlement located opposite An Nabi Saleh. Conflict between the settlement and villagers reawakened in the past month due to the settlers’ attempt to re-annex An Nabi Saleh land despite an Israeli court decision in December 2009 that awarded the property rights of the land to the An Nabi Saleh residents. The confiscated land of An Nabi Saleh is located on the Hallamish side of Highway 465 and is just one of many expansions of the illegal settlement since it’s establishment in 1977.