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Violence and trauma grips Silwan once again

5 March 2011 | Wadi Hilweh Information Center

Firas Rwidi

Violent confrontations erupted in Silwan yesterday, with clashes sparked in Samer Sarhan Street and spreading throughout various districts of the village. Witnesses state that in addition to firing heavy amounts of rubber bullets at protesters, Israeli forces have begun using a new type of tear gas. 17 Palestinians were reported injured, with many more suffering the asphyxiating effects of gas inhalation.

Silwan resident Firas Rwidi was attacked by Israeli armed forces on his way home, when he was taken out of his car by force then shot with rubber bullets, sustaining direct injuries to his back near his kidney. Rwidi also sustained heavy injuries to the head when he was bashed by Israeli troops with sticks and a helmet.

A Palestinian house was set alight and partially burnt in Baten al-Hawa after tear gas cannisters were fired inside. Confrontations then spread to Ras al-Amoud district, which saw some of the worst violence of the day, with Israeli forces firing gratuitous amounts of rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas grenades.

Medical sources state that a total of 17 were injured due to the clashes, including 10 from Ras al-Amoud alone. Amongst the injured were several children below 16 years of age. Dozens more inhaled heavy quantities of tear gas, with one medic stating that they handled 34 such cases on the ground alone. Many residents were forced to medically assist others during the clashes. One woman, Suad al-Mimi, was transferred to hospital after experiencing difficulty in breathing due to gas inhalation.

A settler of Beit Myouhas settlement was also injured as a result of stones thrown at the settlement during the clashes. The settler was immediately transffered to hospital by a Red Star of David ambulance.