International Solidarity Movement
22 June 2010Al Ma’asara
After three years of being blocked from accessing their land on Fridays, Al Ma’asara villagers were granted permission on Friday to walk to the fields which will be confiscated by planned wall construction. Soldiers initially tried to block the route with razor wire but, as it was tangled and out of commission, relented to the requests of organizers to let the group pass. The group then walked peacefully to the land and rested under olive trees. One organizer, reluctant to be overly celebratory, said, “I think this is a compensation. Last week they took away one of our boys, so this week they let us march to the land. Next week we will see.”
An Nabi Saleh
Around two hundred demonstrators marched on Friday to protest against the illegal expansion of the Halamish settlement and the theft of the natural spring in the village of An Nabi Saleh.
The nonviolent demonstration started from the main square and continued down to the road where Palestinians and international and Israeli activists intended to reach the stolen land and the natural spring. However, Israeli forces blocked the road and stopped the nonviolent demonstration. Soon after that, one of the villagers was taken from his house and detained for several minutes for being falsely accused of letting shabab (young Palestinian boys) throw stones from his house.
After that incident, men, women and children persisted in their attempt to demonstrate when soldiers started to launch tear gas canisters at the people. Then, the crowd was dispersed but the tear gas canisters were still flying through An Nabi Saleh’s sky.
Around four o’clock in the afternoon, when the demonstration was still going on, the army raid the village and chased demonstrators, who had to run and hide in order to avoid arrest. The raid lasted for thirty minutes. When demonstrators tried to continue the demonstration, soldiers once again invaded the village and chased demonstrators in a clear attempt to arrest them. As a form of collective punishment, the army remained in the village for one hour. Soon after they left the demonstration was called off.
Around fifty villagers, Israelis and international activists gathered for the weekly demonstration and walked from the village towards the illegal annexation barrier built to separate them from around 60% of their land, and from an illegal settlement built on a neighbouring hill. Israeli military fired several tear gas from the other side of the fence to the right of the road, to deter the demonstrators from proceeding. Most of the group reached the fence and razor wire where it cut off the road, and Israeli forces in masks and riot gear stood beside a small camouflaged hut about 10m beyond the fence on the opposite side. Some of the local boys threw stones in their direction and twice attempted to pull away the razor wire. The soldiers responded by firing multiple tear gas and then charged towards the protesters with shields and full riot gear, causing the group to run back towards the village. The military continued firing tear gas and chased the demonstrators who fled and took cover in houses and olive groves. One British ISM activist, overcome by the effects of the highly concentrated tear gas, was caught and arrested, along with two Israeli demonstrators. They were detained at the nearest police station and released after several hoursHebron
About one hundred Palestinians, Israelis and internationals took part in the weekly demonstration Saturday which aims to open the closed Shuhada Street. It was a joyful demonstration with the world cup theme, although two Israeli activists were arrested.
One hundred persons or so gathered in Hebron old town to protest against the occupation and the Israeli settlements in Hebron. The demonstration started in the old municipality square near Shuhada Street which the Israeli military has closed for all Palestinians. People from all ages chanted and called for the occupation to end. Inspired by the ongoing world cup, the demonstrators simultaneously gave the settlers and the army the red card. After a while the protesters started to march through the old city. The army, however, wanted differently and formed a line to stop the peaceful march. After a bit of pushing the march changed route and went in the opposite direction. During the confrontation, Hebrew speaking activists overheard the police getting orders from the radio to randomly select two people and arrest them. Surprisingly, just a few minutes later two Israeli activists were arrested and held for a few hours. As the march continued through the ancient streets of the old city, songs echoed and the spirit rose. Even the water-throwing settlers couldn’t bring down the good mood and the people reassembled in the old municipality square.
Roughly fifty Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators gathered Friday for a demonstration against Israel’s illegal apartheid wall, which claims roughly 30% of the village’s remaining land. The demonstrators marched through olive groves singing and chanting, before approaching the wall where a large number of soldiers stood watching from behind the gate. Demonstrators fanned out along the wall as barrages of tear gas were fired at the nonviolent crowd.
After walking to a point at which the wall becomes fence, soldiers continued to fire gas at demonstrators despite having caused a large fire on their side of the wall. Half-hearted attempts were made by the soldiers to extinguish the blaze, but it ultimately was permitted to burn through the olive grove now separated from the village. Villagers were forced to watch as flames licked the trunks of the village’s ancient trees. Frustration was expressed with their lack of access to the land, which prevents farmers from clearing the brush to prevent fires.
Soldiers then entered the village through a gate in the wall and began running towards the demonstrators to make arrests. Five medics and one reporter from Nil’in were roughly grabbed and arrested. A medic’s radio was smashed on a rock and the arrestees were marched back through the gate into army jeeps. Four were released and two are being charged with assault, an entirely unfounded claim.
Friday, several hundred Israeli activists, joined by internationals and Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah, gathered in the park on the opposite side of Nablus Road from the neighborhood where four families have been evicted from their homes. After trying to access the neighborhood, permission which is never granted despite giving settlers unlimited access to the street for demonstrations, the crowd then turned in the other direction to access homes which have recently been given eviction orders west of Nablus Road. Police initially blocked the crowd, but demonstrators were successful in finding a second route and reaching the homes.Iraq Burin
For the second week in a row, Israeli soldiers formed road blocks outside the village of Iraq Burin on Saturday, in an attempt to stop people gathering for the village’s weekly demonstration. Non-residents of the village were denied entry, though several walked across the hills, successfully avoiding the roadblock. Residents of the village returning from Nablus were threatened and hurt by soldiers. Several reported being slapped in the face and beaten in the legs when they were stopped outside the village.
Despite this intimidation, villagers and supporters nonetheless assembled at the edge of Iraq Burin, and crossed the valley to reach their land, which they have been repeatedly prevented from accessing due to Israeli settler violence. When the Israeli military has intervened, it has always been to prevent Palestinian access to the land, rather than being to prevent the violence from the settlers.
Upon reaching the top of the hill opposite the village, demonstrators were met with a line of soldiers, who fired tear gas at them, forcing them back down into the valley. The heat of the gas canisters caused a large fire on the dry farm land. Soldiers continued to aim at the Palestinian youth as they attempted to put out the flames.
On Sunday, a small group of Palestinian. Israeli and international demonstrators gathered in Beit Jala with the intention of protesting on land where the illegal apartheid wall is being built, but were prevented by soldiers who had obstructed both access roads with razor wire. The demonstrators chose to cut through an olive grove in an attempt to reach the land, but were quickly met by soldiers. A standoff between soldiers and demonstrators ensued, during which several speeches were delivered. After several minutes, soldiers began to forcibly push the crowd back with batons. As the soldiers fired several tear gas canisters and began to push the nonviolent demonstrators more quickly, an atmosphere oif “muted panic” ensued as demonstrators tried to avoid being injured. At this point, a young Palestinian was seized by soldiers and badly beaten.
Tear gas canisters started a small fire in the olive grove, which was quickly extinguished.