Mohammad Al-Khatib, member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, reported that 52 Israeli and international peace activists, and two residents, were arrested in Bil’in village, near the West Bank city of Ramallah and that at least 40 protestors, including two journalists and a child, were injured.

Al-Khatib stated that soldiers used excessive violence in dispersing the peaceful protest, and fired rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs; dozens of protestors fainted after inhaling gas fired by the army, while were injured by live rounds and rubber-coated bullets.

Soldiers attempted to force the Israeli and international peace activists out of the village and the annexed orchards, in order not expose the military violations against the residents and their farmlands, a local source reported.  

The WAFA news agency reported that the protestors attempted to reach a construction site in Jaheer area, south of Bil’in; soldiers intercepted the procession and attacked the residents and peace activists.

Medical teams transferred six residents to hospitals in Ramallah, including an infant, Ahmad Rabah, 7 months, and Ahmad Al Faqeeh, 3 years old, who suffocated after inhaling gas fired by the army against dozens of homes, after invading the village earlier on Friday morning.

A medical source at Sheikh Zayed Hospital, in Ramallah, reported the all of the injured residents and activists are in stable conditions, including Mohammad Abdul-Karim, who was hit by a rubber-coated bullet in his head.

Eyewitnesses in the village said that soldiers deliberately fired at medical teams and ambulances, in addition to firing a gas bombs at a vehicle which belongs to the Egyptian TV; reporter Mona Hawwash, and cameraman Islam Hamad suffocated after inhaling gas, and received first aid.

Palestinian Legislative Council members, Dr. Ghazi Hanania, Dr. Azmi Al Sho’aiby and Abdul-Jawad Saleh, were present at the protest, in addition to Arab members of Knesset Abdul-Malik Dahamsha, and Wasel Taha.

Army imposes curfew in Bil’in injures Four

George Rishmawi-IMEMC

A large force of the Israeli army invaded the village of Bil’in near the West Bank city of Ramallah in the early hours of Friday mourning, and imposed curfew, forcing all residents of the village to stay home, Palestinian sources reported.

Eyewitnesses reported that at least 150 soldiers entered the village at 5:00 am and announced curfew through loudspeaker. 

Mohammad Al-Khatib, one of the organizers of the anti-wall protests in the village told IMEMC on the phone that the army sealed the village and prevented the internationals to enter.

Al-Khatib said after imposing curfew, the soldiers surrounded a house where internationals were staying.  Troops called on the peace activists to turn themselves in to the soldiers. 

Some of the residents of the village defied curfew and gathered near the surrounded house, which distracted the soldiers allowing the peace activists to leave the house that they were trapped in.

Gretta Berlin, an activist with the International Solidarity Movement said, ‘The soldiers showed up with police and a big wagon that can be used as a big mobile jail.’

‘They arrested five Israelis and three ISM activists, and maybe one Palestinian,’ Berlin said.

She added that they will try to hold the anti-wall protest defying the curfew.

Some of the activists have scratches and bruises in their body because they were dragged by the soldiers.

Two other Palestinians were wounded when soldiers opened rubber-coated metal bullets at the civilians in the village.

The soldiers asked the sheikh of the village not to hold the prayer on Friday and to stay in their houses.

Few days ago, the Israeli army came to the village and asked the residents not to demonstrate against the wall that is being built on the land of the village.

The village has been organizing nonviolent protests against the wall since the construction started in their village.  The villagers are in most cases are joined by Internationals and Israelis who oppose the construction of the wall.