12 March 2010
The Israeli military today continued their attempts to repress the weekly demonstration in An Nabi Saleh. Following on from their near fatal shooting of a 14 year old boy a week ago, soldiers invaded the village within minutes of the demonstration starting, driving jeeps to within approximately 50 metres of the demonstrators and firing upon them with tear gas, percussion grenades, rubber bullets and rubber-coated steel bullets.
Despite the military resorting so rapidly to violence, the villagers, accompanied by Israeli and international activists, determinedly continued their attempts to reach the nearby springs that have been usurped by settlers from the illegal settlement of Hallamish. A number of demonstrators were able to get close to one of the springs before soldiers again fired upon them to force them to retreat. Demonstrators who remained within the village were fired upon from above by soldiers who had occupied the same house from which they shot the boy the previous week.
At least 12 Palestinians sustained injuries from Israeli weaponry, three of which are reported to be serious, including two head wounds.
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.