1 August 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
On Friday July 29, 2011 the Popular Committee of Kufr Qaddoum included musical guests from the Netherlands, Fanfare, to play for Kufr Qaddoum’s weekly demonstration against a roadblock that closes off the main road to the village. The demonstration began around 1:30pm after Friday morning prayer. Dressed in an array of bright colors the band greeted young and old men exiting the mosque. As everyone gathered, they began playing, which created a positive energy throughout the gathering demonstrators. The excitement grew as the protesters began marching down the road. The band started playing “Wayn `A Ramallah,” causing everyone to sign along.
As everyone marched members of the Popular Committee tried to keep the band in front while the young men followed behind them. Earlier that morning they had decided that it would be safest for the band to be in front in case the soldiers fired tear gas. This was mostly successful, but at one point approximately 20-30 Palestinian demonstrators had gathered in front of the band. When marchers reached the final point, the band stood towards the front with Palestinian demonstrators dispersed among them filming and taking pictures.
Fanfare continued to play when everyone arrived at the barbed wire fence. Twenty soldiers gathered with several tear-gas guns and a Jeep stood behind them with a raised Israeli flag. After about seven minutes of music, a couple of Palestinians took hold of the loudspeaker to express their demands. Several soldiers stood behind the press that had gathered. Unlike the demonstration on July 22nd, the demonstrators stood about 200 meters away from the soldiers. Earlier Popular Committee had decided that it was best to keep a distance. But when a handful of Palestinians marched about 50 meters forward towards the soldiers, the Israeli military began firing tear gas into the crowd. As everyone started to run many more tear gas canisters were fired towards the back. Many people ran off the road and down the hill to avoid the gas, but the soldiers fired tear gas in their direction as well.
Approximately thirty five people were treated taken to the hospital to be treated for inhaling tear gas. One American activist was hit in the shoulder by a tear gas canister. An older Palestinian man was treated for head and face injuries by Red Crescent volunteers in the village. He was bleeding from his head and the bridge of his nose, but the specific cause of his injuries are unknown.
The illegal settlement of Qadumim occupies Palestinian land next to Kufr Qaddoum. Over the past month, the people of Kufr Qaddoum have organized weekly demonstrations against the barrier that blocks the main road to their village. Every week the Kufr Qaddoum Popular Committee provides the Israeli occupiers papers issued by the Israeli court to lift the barrier that closes off the main road to their village.