March 30, 2010
In the occasion of the Palestinian Land day several non-violent demonstrations will be held during the week: March 30, 2010: Land Day: Qarawet Bani Zeid Friday March 2, 2010: Bilin, Nilin, Ma’sara, Nebi Saleh, Sheikh Jarrah
The non-violent struggle in West Bank: Since the construction of the separation and Apartheid Wall began on June 16th 2002, Palestinian villages across the West Bank have cooperated in non-violent resistance. The communities of Qalqiliya, Jayyous, Budrus, Bil’in, Ni’lin and Al Masara and Umm Salamonah have all non-violently resisted the Wall being built around them. Weekly non-violent demonstrations against the Wall are held in several villages, which bring together Palestinians and Israelis, as well international activists.
Weekly Non- Violent Demonstrations
Week from 22.3.10 to 28.3.10
Palestinian, Israeli and international activists braved foul weather conditions to demonstrate in West Bank village of Bi’lin on Friday. Dr Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, joined the local residents for the weekly protest of around 50 people against the Apartheid Wall. Despite Israeli Army threats, the march approached the gate, separating local residents from their own land. Soldiers tied to disperse the protest with high velocity tear gas canisters, sound grenades. 2 Palestinian and an Israeli protesters decided to cross the gate. The Army assaulted them, resulting in the arrest of the Israeli demonstrator. As part of the army’s zero tolerance policy toward protests, Israeli soldiers fired more tear gas canisters on the crowd.
A group of around 60 demonstrators marched to the gate and raised the Palestinian flag on the separation wall which has cut villagers off from their land. No serious injuries were sustained. Salah Khawaja of the popular struggle committee said the army’s brutality highlighted a "need to come together and meet the challenges of occupation and attempts to suppress peaceful demonstrations".
Around 70 Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators marched on Friday in An Nabi Saleh, nearby Ramallah. Israeli soldiers besieged residents inside their homes, and used a massive number of tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets to disperse the crowd. According to local sources one Palestinian protester was injured in the foot and dozens were treated for gas inhalation.
As with every Friday since November 2006, village residents gathered before marching to the construction site for the separation wall in an attempt to reach land confiscated by the wall’s construction. This week, the demonstration marked solidarity with Omar Ala-Din, a resident and an activist of the village, who was arrested two weeks ago at Container Checkpoint, questioned and held in the Israeli Russian Compound jail in Jerusalem. Omar Ala -Din, who suffered an injury to his leg from the beating, was released with no charges pressed against him. His arrest as well as the arrests of several Palestinian activists represent an escalation of violence in the attempt to intimidate and stop the popular resistance. As dozens of community members attempted to exit the village, the Israeli military closed the road and snipers positioned on roof tops opened fire with tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades. A joint Israeli-Italian samba drumming band accompanied the demonstrators as they tried to go over the barbed wired fence the soldiers put on the road. Soldiers responded by pushing and threatening the demonstrators.
In Sheikh Jarrah some 400 demonstrators protested against the ongoing ethnic cleansing policies of the Jerusalem municipality and the Israeli government, with the proxy of violent settlers and police. Following the approval of new (Jewish) construction plans in the Shepard hotel compound, about one hundred demonstrators marched to the hotel and held a parallel vigil there, after which they marched back to the central demonstration through the neighborhood. The police, which since the beginning of the protests in the neighborhood forbids demonstrators to actually enter it while settlers are allowed free access, attacked the march and threatened with arrests. However, eventually the march was freed and both parts of the demonstration were reunited in the regular location. After an hour and a half of protest, drumming and singing, demonstrators left peacefully. Hours after the demonstration was over, police reached one of the regular activists in the struggle, Michael Solsbury, and arrested him for suspicion of rioting. This is the first time that police come to an activist’s house, and make arrests outside of demonstrating hours. Solsbury was held in custody and questioned, and was finally released, but informed that charges will be pressed the next day.
Five Palestinians were injured, eight others detained when Israeli troops attacked an anti wall protest at the village of Budrus, near Ramallah city, central West Bank, last week. Villagers, along with their international and Israeli supporters, marched from the village towards their lands taken by Israel to build the wall. Israeli soldiers used tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and sound bombs to stop the protest.
Five residents were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets. Troops chased the people back to the village and detained eight of them. Among those detained, were two Palestinian journalists working for the Palestinian state TV. The protest was organized after the army informed the residents of Budrus, on Thursday, that more lands will be taken to build a watch tower for soldiers on villagers’ lands. The village lost land for the wall back in 2004.
Last week, in Beit Ommar over 100 residents marched down the main street after midday prayers to demonstrate the strength of feeling against the further violations of their freedom of movement and freedom of worship. They were met by an incursion into the town by 8 military vehicles carrying more than 35 heavily armed soldiers who attempted to disperse the protest using stun grenades and tear gas. A large number of youths began throwing stones at the vehicles and the army responded by sending 2 squads of soldiers towards the centre of the town, breaking into houses as they advanced. From behind the safety of their vehicles other soldiers launched gas grenades and fired rubber coated steel bullets at the youths. After a standoff for several hours the soldiers retreated to the watch tower at the entrance to the town firing rubber coated bullets and tear gas as they went. The situation remains tense in the town tonight with a3 military vehicles stationed at the entrance to the town and large numbers of youths gathered ready to defend against another invasion.
IRAQ BURIN Two teenagers were killed by Israeli fire during a demonstration in Iraq Burin, south of Nablus, yesterday. Mohammed Qadus, 16 was fatally shot in the chest, Asaud Qadus, 19, received emergency treatment after being shot in the head and died early Sunday. In both cases medical staff reported the injuries were caused by live ammunition.
The youths had been among a crowd of 60-70 protesting against the loss of their land to the Bracha settlement, which overlooks the village. The illegal settlement has annexed around 100,000 square metres of farmland.
IDF forces entered the village with several jeeps, whereupon violence continued on the streets. According to medical staff, Mohammed and Asaud were shot while fleeing from jeeps. Maroof, an ambulance man from Project Hope witnessed Mohammed’s shooting; "a sniper shot him in the heart", he told us. He went on to claim that IDF forces held up the medics for around five minutes, preventing them from accessing the injured youths. Both were eventually taken to the Specialty Hospital Nablus. Mohammed was pronounced dead soon after. Asaud remained in intensive care for several hours. He died early Sunday.
An army spokesman denied that live ammunition was used, although medical experts declared the nature of the young men’s injuries meant they could not have been caused by rubber bullets.