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Continued military violence can’t shake determination of An Nabi Saleh

International Solidarity Movement

1 May 2010

Violent arrest in An Nabi Saleh. Credit: Keren Manor/Activestills.org

Violent arrest in An Nabi Saleh. Keren Manor/Activestills.org

Israeli military violence on Palestinian land continued Friday in the village of An Nabi Saleh, where more than 100 non-violent demonstrators gathered to protest land confiscation and the ongoing apartheid. Shooting through windows, firing low-flying tear gas at protesters and arresting five, the military’s use of extreme violence has not subsided.

After gathering for speeches by local residents, Palestinian, Israeli and International demonstrators marched through the village and towards land recently confiscated by the illegal Hallamish settlement. After the initial peaceful march was dispersed by tear gas, military jeeps invaded the village. Soldiers threw percussion grenades and fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at villagers, some of whom were merely watching the demonstration from their homes. One canister, fired directly at the head of an Israeli demonstrator from a distance of 20 meters, could have proved lethal had it not narrowly missed striking him. Such tactics were responsible for fracturing the skull of Emad Rezqa last Friday in Bil’in.

The violence continued throughout the day. Four Palestinians and one Israeli were violently arrested while resting behind a house. Multiple demonstrators left the village in ambulances, including one Palestinian who received a broken hand from being struck by a tear gas canister. Village residents have also been routinely arrested in night raids. Despite such extreme measures taken by the Israeli military, the village continues to host spirited and lengthy demonstrations each Friday.

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 residents’ olive trees by the illegal 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.