22 September 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
On Wednesday, demonstrators at the Qalandia checkpoint were met with a new weapon referred to as the “Scream,” an obnoxious siren that sounded once demonstrators had organized near the checkpoint in spirit of a future Palestinian state.
The new sound weapon was used for the first time. It emits a painfully loud high pitched noise which forces those within a range of 100 metres to cover their ears to protect them from the deafening sound. The device was mounted on the back of a jeep and could target the noise in a specific direction so as not to affect the soldiers standing behind it. The device was used at least 15 times throughout the demonstration, usually for intervals lasting about 2 minutes.
The UN bid for statehood by the Palestinian Authority has been a rallying point for Palestinians throughout the West Bank, in particular Ramallah where Yasser Arafat Square was packed with those standing in solidarity, leading to a demonstration at the Qalandia checkpoint near Ramallah that lasted from approximately 11 AM to 7PM.
The Israeli military sounded an alarm referred to as the “Scream” to disturb the demonstrators, yet they refused to disperse. Thus the Israeli military began to administer what demonstrators referred to as potent tear gas, with a Red Crescent medic stating that at least 20 were treated for tear gas inhalation by medics at the site.
As the siren continued to sound and tear gas continued to rain on the more than 200 demonstrators from the Qalandia refugee camp and surrounding areas, the Israeli military was joined by the Shabat to disperse the protesters. At least 2 Palestinian men were arrested when a 4×4 military jeep was seen taking them away.
The Israeli military began to act violently to the protest with the exclusive use of gunfire after a certain point, with at least 100 rounds fired at Palestinians and international observers. One medic was shot in the leg while a 15 year old boy was reportedly shot in the eye. At least 5 Palestinians were treated for gunshot wounds.
Wednesday’s demonstration comes in light of the UN bid for nationhood this Friday, when it is expected that another demonstration will occur in support of Palestinian statehood.