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West Bank demonstration reports

An Nabi Saleh – 13/8/2010

On Friday around 35 Palestinians demonstrated against Hallamish settlement with around 15 Israeli and international peace activists in the village of An Nabi Salih. When the peaceful demonstration started, as usual after the noon prayer, the demonstrators went down to the entrance of the village where soldiers and border police were already aiting, blocking the road.

After pushing some Palestinians who were trying to walk down the street that leads to the settlement, the Israeli army started shooting low-flying teargas at the other side of the road, where some shebab where throwing stones at the jeeps. A lot of teargas was fired at the houses nearby and a lot of people including children suffered from teargas inhalation. More then two hours later, when the Palestinians just wanted to declare the demonstration over, the soldiers came across the fields shooting teargas at kids and people who were resting outside the house of one of the members of the popular committee. The demonstration ended around five – even though it was the first Friday of Ramadan – with no one arrested or injured.


Al Mas’ara – 13/8/2010

Six ISM activists joined Palestinians and some other internationals on the Al Ma’sara demonstration at 1pm on Friday 13th August. The whole demo took about half an hour from starting marching to the crowd dispersing; there were around 60 internationals and around a smaller number of Palestinians present. The demonstration was against the illegal apartheid wall – specifically how it is blocking the local farmers’ access to their land.

A large crowd of Catalonian activists were present, and waited until prayers had finished to set off with the rest. The group paraded through the village, with chanting, being led by a Palestinian man, but mainly in English (and Italian, with a few renditions of Bella Ciao). The Israeli army had cordoned off a section of road, and the group marched up to them. It was emphasized through the megaphone, and by lots of individual shouts, that this was an entirely non-violent demonstration. Calls of “Please don’t shoot” were also made. Soldiers pushed the Palestinian men on the front line of the group.

A demand was made for the soldiers to leave within three minutes, to allow access down the road and onto the fields. The soldiers remained impassive and maintained their blockade of the road, but then after a visit from their commanders, they threw five sound grenades at the crowd. The people scattered but noone was hurt. After this, the soldiers got back into their jeeps and drove away, much to the delight of the crowd.


Ni’lin – 13/8/2010

After many Palestinians participated in the noon prayer in the olive fields of Nil’in on Friday, the first demonstration during Ramadan of this year started. There were around 60 people including internationals and Israelis activists who were as always supporting Palestinians nonviolent resistance to call for the destruction of the Apartheid Wall which steals Palestinian land to expand settlement like Modi’in Ilit. and prevents farmer working their land.

As soon as the demonstration started, soldiers began shooting a lot of teargas that left dozens suffering from inhalation. Then, as they normally do, the Israeli army started coming t through gate and chasing demonstrators to try to arrest someone and kept shooting towards the village, with two kids aged 6 and 8 also hurt due to teargas inhalation. In about an hour the demonstration was over, with no arrests or serious injuries.


Bil’in – 13/8/2010

Around 20 Israeli activists and perhaps 40 or 50 internationals joined Palestinians in the Bil’in protest this Friday which commenced after Palestinians had prayed Jummah on the first Friday of Ramadan. The group marched holding Palestinian flags and also posters of shebab and members of the popular committee who are incarcerated in Israeli jails. Many of these political prisoners were arrested in the village during night raids. Some have been charged and sentenced for the “crime” of organizing peaceful resistance in the form of the popular struggle.

While marching towards the Apartheid Wall chanting slogans against land theft and the occupation the group held firm against the inevitable Israeli army attack. Once the first volley of tear gas was fired, several subsequent rounds followed immediately, forcing the demonstrators to retreat. The soldiers continued to shoot tear gas up the hill as the protesters backed off. One Israeli photographer was injured slightly by a hand grenade, and an Israeli woman was hit by a tear gas canister in her leg. Meanwhile, many suffered from gas inhalation, but despite the soldiers’ attempts, they managed to make no arrests.

The army also began shooting rubber coated steel bullets – a relatively rare occurrence at Bil’in. The demonstration lasted over an hour and a half however, and was declared a success considering that multiple protestors were fasting for Ramadan.


Beit Ommar – 14/8/2010

About 30 Palestinians supported by 10 international and Israeli activists met in the village of Beit Ummar around 10:00 a.m on Friday. There were also about another 20 internationals observing but not demonstrating.

The group marched through the village’s olive groves towards the illegal Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion. The march was halted by Israeli soldiers and police in front of the gate, and the commander informed the demonstrators that the whole area, including the village’s olive groves, was a closed military zone. The demonstrators were given five minutes to leave or be arrested.

After a short speech about the history of the village and the illegal settlement, the group began to walk back to the village. The group stopped about fifty metres from the soldiers and continued the demonstration. After a few minutes some of the soldiers turned to leave and then the Palestinians decided the group should walk down again.

This was met with a hail of metal tear gas canisters, some narrowly missing the demonstrators they were aimed at. Some Palestinian youths began symbolically throwing stones while the rest of the demonstrators retreated towards the village to avoid the tear gas. Soldiers periodically ran towards the demonstrators, hoping to make an arrest, but they were unsuccessful.

Around 20 Israeli activists and perhaps 40 or 50 internationals joined Palestinians in the Bil’in protest this Friday which commenced after Palestinians had prayed Jummah on the first Friday of Ramadan. The group marched holding Palestinian flags and also posters of shebab and members of the popular committee who are incarcerated in Israeli jails. Many of these political prisoners were arrested in the village during night raids. Some have been charged and sentenced for the “crime” of organizing peaceful resistance in the form of the popular struggle.

While marching towards the Apartheid Wall chanting slogans against land theft and the occupation the group held firm against the inevitable Israeli army attack. Once the first volley of tear gas was fired, several subsequent rounds followed immediately, forcing the demonstrators to retreat. The soldiers continued to shoot tear gas up the hill as the protesters backed off. One Israeli photographer was injured slightly by a hand grenade, and an Israeli woman was hit by a tear gas canister in her leg. Meanwhile, many suffered from gas inhalation, but despite the soldiers’ attempts, they managed to make no arrests.

The army also began shooting rubber coated steel bullets – a relatively rare occurrence at Bil’in. The demonstration lasted over an hour and a half however, and was declared a success considering that multiple protestors were fasting for Ramadan.