6 August 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
On Friday, 5 August, the weekly demonstration against the illegal settlement near the Palestinian village of Ni’lin was held, despite the majority of its participants fasting for Ramadan. Although smaller than is usual it consisted of about forty people from the local community and a group of internationals from ISM and the Christian Peacemakers Team, some Israeli activists, and the Jordan Valley Solidarity Group.
The march succeeded in reaching the gate of the illegal annexation wall. Stopping in front of the huge metal construction, delegates from the Popular Committee of the village voiced their grievances and re-asserted their rights under international law to self determination and to live free of the harassment caused by Israeli encroachment on their land. A tire was set on fire as a symbolic act.
A group of young men went off to partake in their form of resistance by launching small stones over the wall, about 500m to the right of the gate. The military police retaliated with volleys of tear gas in a standoff that lasted around forty minutes. No one was seriously injured, and only one individual was treated for gas inhalation by attending members of the Red Cresent.
Afterwards, Saeed, a son of a prominent member of the local Popular Committee, commented on the relatively low level of repression experienced during this particular demonstration.
“Between, 2008 and 2010, the military arrested 90 people from this village. We had snipers in the village, shooting people and they used special, illegal bullets called ‘0.22’. They explode inside your body. We had 5 people killed,” he said.
Despite this history of aggression, the local commuity shows no signs of capitulation and is determined to fight for their human rights, sanctified and upheld by international law.