As many controversial reports were published on the events that took place in the Village of Beilin, near Ramallah, on Thursday, IMEMC correspondence in Ramallah visited the Village on Friday and presented the following report:
At 11 a.m. around 700 Palestinians, Israeli and International peace activists gathered by the mosque. Among them were three Palestinian Members of Knesset and two Palestinian Legislative Council members.
At 11.30 demonstrators marched towards the construction site of the separation Wall. At the outskirts of the village about 30-40 Israeli Army soldiers formed a line and attempted to physically stop the marchers from getting closer to the construction site but failed.
At 11.40 soldiers, border police and Special Forces hurled dozens of teargas canisters and sound grenades, and fired rubber coated metal bullets at demonstrators forcing them to split into several parts.
A group of around 150 protesters managed to arrive close to the construction site, but were forced back by around 70 soldiers and border police.
This group of protesters was dealt with harshly. Soldiers and border police aggressively shoved and hit demonstrators. Several elderly activists were pushed to the ground, including a member of Knesset. At this point, soldiers arrested a Palestinian protestor, Ilyan Abu Rahma.
Israeli Knesset member Mohammed Baraka suffered injuries to his leg as a sound bomb was thrown directly at him. Another MK, Abdel Malik Dehamsha was manhandled and pushed to the ground.
At around 12:00, a group, believed to be an Israeli undercover police, started hurling stones at Israeli soldiers, urging Palestinian youth to join them.
Locals affirmed that prior to that there were no stone throwing from the protestors’ side.
As villagers approached the stone throwers to prevent them from doing so, the disguised group drew their side arms and started chasing demonstrators across the fields.
At this point, the disguised group managed to arrest protester Riad Burnat.
Attempts to de-arrest the two detained Palestinians were met with ‘extreme’ force, especially by the disguised undercover police force.
Several protestors were kicked, punched and wrestled to the ground or shot by rubber bullets. At this point, the police violently carried the detainee to an army jeep.
At approximately 12:45, police officers told protestors that the detained Palestinians will be released if protesters leave the site back to the village.
Protestors left the site, but detainees were not released.
At around 13.00, few protestors tried to negotiate the release of prisoners, but were tear gassed.Ã‚Â
At 14:30 a group of Palestinian young protesters started to throw stones at soldiers.
Around the same time, a group of Israeli peace activists failed to break through soldiers’ lines in an attempt to release the detainees. At this point, soldiers moved the two detainees to Offer military detention center.
Clashes between young protestors and soldiers continued until around 6:00 P.M. 18.00.
According to paramedics present 22 Palestinians and Israelis were injured, mostly due to tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets to the chest, head and legs. Three of the injured were Palestinian children under 13 years.
Protestors reported that soldiers used three types of weapons never encountered by any of the protestors present, including guns capable of firing rubber bullets rapidly and one firing rubber pellets from a shot-gun type firearm.
Protester Mohammed Khatib was shot with a weapon that he describes as giving him an electric shock that knocked him to the ground unconscious and gave him five circular burns to his back.
In addition to Riad Burnat and Ilyan Abu Rahma, three Israeli peace activists were detained for questioning.
Many international peace activists stayed overnight in the village over fears of army incursions and further arrests.