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One citizen wounded and dozens asphyxiated in Bil’in

28 January 2011 | Popular Committee Against the Wall

Ramallah-Bil’in: A resident of Bil’in was wounded and dozens of residents, peace activists, and individuals wishing to show solidarity suffered severe asphyxiation today. This was due to extensive tear gas use in clashes resulting from the Israeli occupation forces suppression of the weekly demonstration march against the wall and settlements in Bil’in.

Participants in today’s demonstration included Dr. Mai Al Kaila, the Palestinian ambassador to Chile and a high level delegation of lawmakersled by Chilean Vice President of Parliament Ivan Moreira. A delegation from the Arab Liberation Front was also in attendance. Residents of Bil’in, peace activists, Israeli citizens, and internationals participated as well.

The participants marched carrying Palestinian flags and photographs of the martyrs of the Abu Rahma family, Marwan Barghouti, and Abdullah Abu Rahma, the coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in. They also carried banners reading ‘Our battle is with the settler who murdered Uday in Iraq Burin. Our battle is with the occupation and the setters. We will not change our course and will continue our resistance.’

The demonstrators marched from the village chanting national slogans and calling for unity and the rejection of differences. They confirmed the need for a powerful Palestinian resistance to occupation and demanded the release of all prisoners. They also called for freedom for Palestine and chanted slogans condemning all aggression against Jerusalem as well as the policy of deportation.

The march headed toward the wall behind which the Israeli occupation forces were already waiting. There were also a large number of forces deployed along the path to the wall. When protesters attempted to cross the wall to the land behind it, owned by the residents of Bil’in, the army responded with sound bombs, gas canisters, rubber-coated bullets, and live ammunition fired in all directions. Demonstrators were chased into the olive groves. The occupation forces also fired foul-smelling sewage water mixed with chemicals of an unknown chemical compound at the protestors. Mohammed Abu Rahma, aged 17, was injured by a tear gas canister striking his hand. Dozens of cases of severe asphyxiation and vomiting were also reported.

Yesterday the village of Bil’in was visited by Mr. Edgar Motsisi, a political representative of South Africa in an effort to show solidarity with the family of Bassem and Jawaher Abu Rahma and the family of Abdullah Abu Rahma, who remains in prison. Mr. Motsisi paid his respects to them for suffering for the people of Bil’in in an effort to end the occupation’s oppression of the village. He commended the People’s Committee for the use of art and creativity in the demonstration. Mr. Edgar Motsisi also gave attention the type of weapons used by the army to suppress the demonstrations near the apartheid wall. He visited the village again today with the Chilean delegation led by Ivan Moreira. They met with the Popular Committee Against the Wall and the village council members in the village council. They listened to the Popular Committee’s detailed description of Bil’in’s experiences with peaceful popular resistance for the past six years. The Committee also detailed their achievements and the role of effective international solidarity in popular resistance in Bil’in.

The Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in also denounced the ruling of the Israeli military court for the officer and soldier who opened fire on Ashraf Abu Rahma while he was blindfolded and handcuffed at the entrance to the village of Nil’in. The ruling was the diluted, illegal, and immoral decision of an illegal occupation court. We call on all human rights organizations and international legal bodies to stop Israel’s violations of international law, and to prosecute the leadership of the Israeli army and it’s officers and soldiers as war criminals in international court, respecting the rights of the Palestinian people. We also condemn the actions of settlers to kill young Udai Qadoos (19) in cold blood in the village of Iraq Burin, and Youssef IKhalil (17) from the village of Safa, as well as the brutal murder committed in Hebron of a man sleeping in his bed. We call on our people to respond to the barbaric actions of the settlers and Israeli soldiers with the popular resistance in all areas impacted the settlements and the wall. They will not choose to deviate from their course alone, and we will continue our resistance.