02 April 2011 | International Solidarity Movement
Today, small peaceful demonstrations in Beit Ommar were met with disproportionate force by the Israeli army. Just after 11 o’clock this morning, a small group of villagers and internationals marched to the entrance of the village where they were met by lines of soldiers preventing them from exiting the village. The soldiers soon declared the area a closed military zone and erected a barricade preventing vehicles from entering and exiting. The army then threw teargas and sound grenades directly at demonstrators to drive the small group back into the village. The march was organised to commemorate Land Day and protest the encroachment of Karmei Tsur settlement on land belonging to local farmers. Karmei Tsur is one of five illegal settlements built on land belonging to Beit Ommar villagers.
Later in the day a group of approximately 25 Israeli activists arrived to protest the closure of the village and were greeted by truckloads of soldiers who violently dragged them away from the village and detained them at the petrol station next to the village. A number of members of the group, who had all come to protest peacefully, were arrested.