13 August 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
On Friday the 12th of August, the weekly demonstration called by the local Popular Committee in Kufr Qaddum was held. Despite the blazing heat and that most of the participants are fasting for Ramadan, an impressive contingent of around two hundred began the march towards the illegal Israeli settlement of Qadumim. Sitting at the head of a spit of land, protruding, in violation of international law, past the green line by seventeen kilometres into the West Bank, the settlement has brought with it the land confiscations, restrictions on movements, and arbitrary harassment that typifies Zionist incursion into Palestine.
Before passing the last house in the village, the noisy and spirited mass was confronted by two groups of Israeli soldiers; one blocking the road to Qadumim along with Border Police, and the other on higher ground to the left, on a ridge above an olive grove. Those on the left are recognised by some of the demonstrators as being armed with rubber coated steel bullets. After a standoff in which the crowd voiced their anger at the forces of the occupation and reasserted their rights to freedom and self determination in the face of carefully planned ethnic cleansing, the military opened fire with volleys of tear gas.
Some young Palestinian men answered each volley with stones and defiance as the amount of gas fired steadily increased. Over the course of an hour or so, the back and forth continued, ending with an unknown number of mostly older people treated by the Red Crescent, converting the Mosque into a makeshift field hospital although no one was seriously hurt. At one point several soldiers managed to out flank the front of the demonstration, throwing sound bombs directly into groups of people. Towards the end, the Israeli military deliberately fired high velocity tear gas rounds into dry scrubland, setting alight a large olive grove, owned by Kufr Qaddum.