by Aida Gerard
11 November 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
A 55 year old Palestinian man was taken to hospital from Nabi Saleh due to an injury from a rubber coated steel bullet. After two hours of demonstrating the Israeli Occupation Forces invaded Nabi Saleh and arrested one Palestinian, 36 year old Bilal Tamimi, who works for B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization.
The demonstration in Nabi Saleh began with the commemoration of Yassir Arafats death seven years ago. A big poster with Arafat was carried in the front of the demonstration and the chanting honored the former leader of Palestine. When the demonstrators reached the outskirts of the village they were met by a truck shooting skunk water while the Israeli Occupation forces shot gas directly at the demonstrators.
After half an hour the Occupation Forces withdrew to the entrance of the village, where they closed the entrance gate with the intention of making the demonstrators reach the open field in front of the military. The demonstrators decided to change direction instead of letting the Occupation Forces decide where the villagers should demonstrate. They went to the direction of the water spring near the illegal Halamish (Neve Zuf) settlement.The Occupation Forces met the demonstrators with a significant amount of gas and rubber coated steel bullets. One man from Nabi Saleh was shot at directly from a distance of 30 meters in his face with a rubber coated steel bullet and was carried to the village. While he was being carried to the village the Occupation Forces came towards the injured and the young boys who carried him, fleeing as the women and internationals carried the injured man to the village. The 55 year old man was taken to the hospital and got three stitches over the right eye and a broken nose. Several young boys were injured at the same time with rubber coated steel bullets and by teargas canisters.
Afterwards the Occupation Forces invaded Nabi Saleh and arrested Bilal Tamimi, a 55 old Palestinian who works for B’Tselem. They arrested him while he was documenting the crimes of the Occupation Forces in his village. An Israeli Btselem worker who also participated in the demonstration said that B’Tselem assumed that Bilal was taken to the nearby military camp in the illegal Halamish (Neve Zuf) settlement, located opposite of Nabi Saleh. He was released later in the evening.
The Occupation Forces occupied two houses in Nabi Saleh and placed the skunk water truck and three jeeps at the crossroad in the village, leaving the demonstrators hiding for a couple of hours in order to avoid arrest and getting their houses sprayed with the skunk water. Several times the military tried making surprise attacks to arrest demonstrators but they did not succeed. The demonstration ended at sunset, greeting the military jeeps with a rain of stones when they finally left the village.
Aida Gerard is a volunteer with International Solidarity Movement (name changed).