17 September 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
The people of Kufr Qaddoum demonstrated on Friday, September 16th, against the illegal settlement Qadumim, which is situated west of the village. They demanded access to their main road which passes adjacent to the settlement and leads out from the village.
The demonstration started at 1:30 pm and consisted of around 300 villagers and four internationals from the ISM. The demonstrators carried a coffin covered by the Israeli flag which symbolized the funeral of the Israeli Occupation in spirit of the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood at the UN this month. The coffin was then burned.
Kafr Qaddoum is surrounded by a red line which prevents the villagers from crossing. When this boundary line was reached, just a few hundred meters from the center of the village, the demonstration stopped for speeches, chants and dancing, and the spirit was positive.
Inside the illegal settlement compound one settler family and a few soldiers were seen watching the procession. From outside the settlement boundaries 3 military vehicles were waiting for the protesters to cross the line, which they eventually did. Just a few steps over the line was enough to make all the vehicles drive in full speed against the peaceful protest. Immediately the soldiers started to fire tear gas in high volumes, and the young protesters began throwing stones.
At least four soldiers were also watching from the hill north of the village from where tear gas also was shot.
As the protesters were moving back into the village, the soldiers followed and tear gas was fired into the village. At least one family was affected by the gas inside their home and was seen fleeing. Two people were taken away from the scene by ambulances, and a significant amount of people were helped by doctors from the Red Crescent.
The demonstration ended at 2:30 pm with celebrations inside the village.
This was the 12th week of Friday protests in Kufr Qaddoum, and the first time in three weeks since the army left the settlement to violently obstruct the demonstration.