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Weekend demonstrations continue the struggle

International Solidarity Movement

10 May 2010

Demonstration in Bil'in symbolizing the Nakba and Palestinian refugees' inability to bury loved ones on native soil.

Demonstration in Bilin symbolizing the Nakba and Palestinian refugees inability to bury loved ones on native soil.

Bil’in
Today’s demonstrators, Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals, marched from the Bil’in mosque towards the illegal apartheid wall. Halfway along the route, the procession picked up several men dressed entirely in black, carrying a coffin with a man inside. The grim scene symbolized the Palestinians’ loss of land during the Nakba and their inability to return to these lands. Most importantly, the coffin symbolized the fact that Palestinian refugees are not allowed to bury their deceased loved ones on their native soil.

The Israeli army fired tear gas and many aluminum canisters into the crowd not long after they gathered at the wall. The army aggressively entered through the wall’s gate and chased protestors up the route, as other soldiers fired tear gas canisters into the retreating crowd. Several were grabbed and arrested: Haitham al-Khatib, cameraman from Bil’in; Stormy, an American activist; Ashraf Abu Rahme from Bil’in; Abdul Fattah Burnat from Bil’in; and two Israeli demonstrators. One Palestinian man was injured with a gas canister to his chest, and dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation. The procession finally retreated after these arrests and after being forced back up the hill into the village.

An Nabi Saleh
Fifty Palestinian, Israeli and international activists demonstrated Friday against land confiscation in An Nabi Saleh . The demonstration started at 1:30 pm in the center of the village and lasted roughly 400 meters, where demonstrators were met by the Israeli military which immediately shot tear gas at the crowd. After being dispersed, demonstrators hid among the houses of the village. The Israeli military continued throwing sound bombs and firing tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets for three hours. When the military retreated, demonstrators again tried to reach the lands which have been stolen by settlers but soldiers started again to launch tear gas and live ammunition (three warning rounds).

Near the end of the demonstration, plainclothes police officers who had infiltrated the demonstration grabbed eleven year-old boy, and two Israel activists who attempted to prevent his arrest. A 19-year-old demonstrator was arrested and beaten by plainclothes police officers. Four Israelis and one international were stopped and detained while driving on a road towards An Nabi Saleh. All were later released. The demo finished at 7pm.

Ni’lin
Approximately 50 Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators gathered outside of the town of Ni’lin Friday, attending midday prayers in a quiet olive grove before marching towards the illegal apartheid wall. Chanting and waving flags, the demonstrators fanned out upon reaching the wall, where they were met with volleys of tear gas. Protestors marched east along the wall before returning to the village. Several cases of tear gas inhalation were reported.

Al Ma’asara
The demonstrators of Al Ma’asara achieved a rare victory this week, reaching the farmland which falls on the illegal wall’s route. In more than two years, this is the first time demonstrators have reached the land, though this is the objective each week. Approximately 35 demonstrators, Palestinian, Israeli and international, were surprised when, upon reaching soldiers and razor wire blocking the road, their request to continue the march was considered and then granted. Demonstrators sang and listened to speeches upon reaching the land, and then returned peacefully to the village.

Soldiers watch protest near Shuhada Street

Soldiers watch protest near Shuhada Street

Hebron
Twenty-five Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals attended this newly-begun demonstration, gathering at an entrance to Shuhada Street, the main street in Hebron, now closed to Palestinians. After lively chants which lasted nearly an hour, the protest filed through the narrow streets of Hebron’s old city. Settlers poured water on demonstrators from the occupied second story of market buildings. Demonstrators returned to the Shuhada street gate without incident.

Beit Jala
Marching from the central square towards construction of the illegal wall, 50 Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators were met with Israeli military, who had blocked the road with razor wire. A demonstration was staged at the barbed wire and numerous speeches were delivered, before protestors turned back. The illegal wall cuts through a family’s front yard in Beit Jala, coming within meters of their home. Numerous ancient olive trees have been uprooted in the construction, which veers wildly off a linear path in order to snake around Route 60.