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Kufr Qaddoum: two boys arrested and beaten before weekly demonstration

By Tete Telsen

17 June 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

Prior to the weekly demonstration in Kufr Qaddoum last Friday, June 15, two young Palestinian boys were detained and beaten by Israeli soldiers. At least three others were injured by tear gas canisters during the peaceful protest that ensued.

Shortly after noon on Friday, Israeli soldiers kidnapped two 10 year old Palestinian boys. While being held by the Israeli military, the two boys were repeatedly kicked in their backs by soldiers. They were then released and taken home by adults from the village.

The weekly occurring demonstration began following the Friday noon prayer with speeches and music. The Israeli military immediately began shooting sound bombs and tear gas. Some protesters replied with stone-throwing. At around 2:30 p.m., Israeli soldiers began illegally shooting tear gas canisters at head level and lower. Three men were shot by the canisters. The military evacuated Kufr Qaddoum around 3 p.m..

Prior to the protest some 20 children were playing near the area were the demonstration is held. They were throwing stones in trees and playing. Israeli soldiers arrived a half hour before the demonstration began and abducted two of the boys, aged 11 and 9 years old.

The other children ran back to the village to ask for help. When Palestinians and International Solidarity Movement volunteers arrived on scene, the boys had already been released. The two young boys related that they had been kicked in their backs by the soldiers.

The weekly demonstration began as usual around 1 p.m.. The people of Kufr Qaddoum spoke to the Israeli army through a loudspeaker, stating that they were holding a peaceful demonstration and that the soldiers should go away. The military replied with tear gas and sound bombs.

Before ending the protest, Israeli soldiers shot tear gas canister at head level and into the ground to make the canisters bounce. Ashraf Shtaiwi was hit in his stomach, Mojahid Barham in his shoulder, and Bashar Shtaiwi in his arm. All were treated in an ambulance by medics. Several others suffered tear gas suffocation and were also treated in ambulance.

Kufr Qaddoum is a village 12 kilometres west of Nablus home to almost 3 thousand people. Since 2003, the road which connects the village to Nablus was blocked to Palestinian access by Israel. The inhabitants are thus obliged to take an indirect and much lengthier route. The annexed road prompted the weekly demonstrations but Kufr Qaddoum is also protesting the ongoing land theft by the adjacent Jewish-only illegal settlement of Qedummim. The Friday demonstrations began in July 2011 and continue to today.

Tete Telsen is a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (name has been changed).