03rd January 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus Team | Kafr Qaddum, Occupied Palestine
Today, at the weekly Kafr Qaddum demonstration, Israeli soldiers and border police violently suppressed the protest and arrested a Palestinian citizen.
Clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers erupted after the Friday prayer when the Israeli military began bulldozing pre-made stone barricades and military police jeeps drove into the village. Israeli soldiers fired many tear gas canisters at protesters and threw a large number of stun grenades.
During clashes on the north side of the hill, 24-years-old Aqel Shteiwi was arrested by Israeli forces. Several soldiers grabbed him and forced him into an Israeli border police jeep. He was taken to an unknown location. Several protesters also suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation and the demonstration lasted for over three hours.
The purpose of the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum focuses on the closure of the main road that connects the village with Nablus. The road, which passes alongside the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim, was closed to Palestinian access. As a result, the journey to Nablus has increased from 15 minutes to 40 minutes. This has resulted in hardships because many residents travel daily to Nablus for work, studies, or health care.
Kafr Qaddum has also lost 4000 dunums of land to the five illegal Israeli settlements that surround the village. Farmers seeking to reach their lands face threats, attacks, and arrests. Some of the Palestinian-owned agricultural lands have been declared ‘closed military zones’ and illegal settlers regularly burn them. This demonstration follows two weeks in which several young men were arrested from Kafr Qaddum during night raids by Israeli forces. Just two days ago an 85-year-old villager died as a result of suffocation, after soldiers shot a tear gas canister into his home.