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Israeli army violently represses peaceful Friday demonstration

Israeli army attack protestors at Friday demo

On Friday, August 4, a peaceful demonstration was violently attacked by the Israeli army around the West Bank village of Deir Istyia, Salfit governorate.

About 30 Palestinians from Deir Istiya, including women, the elderly and children were on their way to the land north of the village, accompanied by a number of Israeli and international observers, to peacefully protest a new illegal Israeli outpost, when they were stopped in a gorge a few kilometers from the village by about 20 armed Israeli soldiers, who prevented the peaceful demonstration from continuing further.
The demonstrators then held Friday prayers within walking distance of the soldiers, after which they began chanting slogans in Arabic and English such as “Ihtilal Barra Barra” (“Out with the occupation”) and “Israel is a fascist state”.


After a few minutes, a Palestinian woman managed to get past the line of Israeli soldiers while waving a Palestinian flag. In response, Israeli soldiers, who were on the road and on the high ground surrounding the gorge, began firing stun grenades into the crowd, followed by tear gas fired at eye level and rubber-coated steel bullets. The mayor of Deir Istyia was wounded by a rubber bullet to the stomach fired at point-blank range, and received assistance from paramedics on the scene.

Citizens of Deir Istyia have been protesting every Friday for two months against a new illegal Israeli outpost that was built in May on Palestinian farmers’ land near the village.

Since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, some 300 settlements and outposts have been built in the occupied Palestinian territories (source OHCHR). These settlements, where between 600,000 and 700,000 settlers live, are illegal under international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from moving part of its civilian population into the territories it occupies. The illegality of the colonies has been confirmed by various Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions. Outposts are illegal even under Israeli domestic law (source OHCHR).

Palestinians perform prayers at Friday demo

Illegal settlements are often intentionally built on Palestinian agricultural land and pastures, or in close proximity to a Palestinian village. The illegal occupation of land for settlement construction involves multiple arbitrary violations of Palestinians’ human rights, including restrictions on freedom of movement, house demolitions, expropriation, and diversion of water resources from Palestinian-owned agricultural land to settlements.

Illegal Israeli settlers’ attacks on Palestinian civilians are also a daily reality. OCHA reported an increase in settler violence, with almost 600 incidents registered in the first six months of 2023, while 2022 was condemned for a “record year” of Israeli violence in the occupied West Bank.
“Armed and masked Israeli settlers are attacking Palestinians in their homes, attacking children on their way to school, destroying property and burning olive groves, and terrorising entire communities with complete impunity,” the experts reported.