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Weekly Demonstration Report — High Velocity Tear Gas Canisters used in an Nabi Saleh

14 November 2010 | International Solidarity Movement

Al Nabi Saleh demonstrators assaulted with high velocity tear gas canisters and rubber bullets

High-velocity tear gas canister used in an Nabi Saleh

The weekly demonstration at Al Nabih Saleh took place again this Friday, one day after the six year anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death.

One young boy was shot in the hand with a rubber bullet, and tear gas canisters were shot throughout the whole demonstration to prevent demonstrators from reaching the village spring near the illegal settlement Halamish. Some canisters were shot directly at demonstrators. High velocity tear gas canisters were used despite their illegality for the danger they pose: high velocity tear gas canisters have killed and seriously injured many demonstrators in the past.

The demonstration was supposed to be preceded by a large celebration commemorating the legacy of Yasser Arafat. However, the military closed off all entrances to the village two hours before the demonstration, making it very hard for outside guests to make it to the event. Some people, including ISM volunteers, had to take a 30 minute detour through the olive groves, around the soldiers in order to enter the village. Other visitors were tear gassed when they attempted to enter the village through this alternative route.

Even with all these complications the celebration had about 200 people in attendance, and it was attended by all including internationals and Israelis. Children also marched, and chanted pro-Arafat chants. Right after the celebration, the demonstration started, at around 1 pm and continued until after sundown.

Bil’in marks the 6th anniversary of Arafat’s death
Photos by Hamde Abu Rahma

Bil'in on 6th anniversary of Arafat's death

Today’s demonstration in Bil’in was joined by a large number of Palestinians, Israelis and internationals. Members of the Fatah party were also present. The demonstration followed a week of constant night-raids by Israeli soldiers searching for the anti-wall village activist, Ashraf Khatib.

The protesters walked together towards the Apartheid Wall, carrying posters of Yasser Arafat, in commemoration of the Fatah leader who passed away six years ago. Speeches were held by members of the Fatah movement, while Israeli soldiers in the background prepared to attack the peaceful demonstrators.
The speakers were Sultan Abu Al Enanan from the Fatah movement, Kays Abu Leyla from the Executive Committee of PLO and the political office of the Democratic Front and Basel Monsur from the Popular Committee in Bil’in. They all promised to stay strong as Arafat would have wanted them to be, and to fight the occupation together.

Bil'in flooded with teargas

Even before the majority of the protesters moved forward, soldiers began firing tear gas from their position on the road leading to the village. Immediately the area was covered with tear gas, with canisters flying into the crowd from different directions. In response a few youngsters threw stones to the Israeli soldiers, in symbolic resistance to their violence. The soldiers moved into the field and continued to fire rounds of gas, chasing people back into the village. At one point live ammunition was fired, causing fear and the retreat of any protesters remaining in the area.

Tear gas canisters set fires on the ground in several places, which were put out by some protesters before they spread. The demonstration lasted for about two hours.

The Popular Committee and the people of Bil’in thanks their international and Israeli supporters for standing side by side with them in their struggle against Israel’s occupation.

New anti-wall demonstration in Al Walaja

Demonstrators march to the wall in Al-Walaja

For Friday, 11 November 2010, the local committee in Al-Walaja (a little village half an hour from Bethlehem) organized a peaceful protest to draw attention to the illegal building of a new Israeli settlement. The village is surrounded by settlements, so the Israeli government has decided to build a wall around the village with only one entrance.

The villagers won´t accept this without resistance. Last week this issue was in the supreme court but nothing was decided. The government has continued to build, so on Friday the inhabitants of Al Wlaja held a demonstration.

Friday’s demonstration passed along the wall and the people demanded the freedom to live without the wall or occupation. On the place where the wall would stand in the future, a villager held a speech about the circumstances of living in Qualqilya. Soon the Israeli Army came with 4 jeeps and soldiers walked with the people but there were no clashes. The people only stood in front of the soldiers and shouted their contentions to them. The demonstration ended after one hour.

The new settlement affects Al-Walaja in several ways: Not only does it encroach directly on existing Palestinian homes, but it towers over the village, and when the wall is completed it will isolate the village from agricultural areas and other parts of the community. A final tragic outcome of the wall and the new settlement is that if they’re completed Al-Walaja will be reduced in size from the 20,000 durhams of 1967 to a mere 2,000 durhams. Developers building the new settlement have not obtained permission to build, whereas the Palestinians have been denied for more than a year permission to complete homes nearby.