Israeli soldiers fired gas bombs and rubber coated bullets at a peaceful protest against the Separation Wall in Bil’in village, near the Wets Bank city of Ramallah, several residents were injured.
The protest took off on Friday afternoon after dozens of residents, peace activists and representatives of Physicians without Borders, marched towards a construction site of the Separation Wall while handcuffing themselves in a move which symbolizes the Israeli military procedures.
Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, told the IMEMC that this protest was carried out to express the rejection of the residents and the peace activists to the continuous attacks and invasions carried by the army against the village, and to protest against the construction of the Separation Wall.
The Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in reported that the main aim of the procession this week was to counter the Israeli attacks against the village, and the continuous arrests and military procedures which aim to bar the residents and the activists from protesting against the Wall.
Abu Rahma also said that soldiers carried lists which included names of dozens of residents from the village. Soldiers claim that those residents are wanted to the Israeli security for their activities in the protests against the Wall.
Dozens of residents and activists suffocated after inhaling gas fired by the army, and received first aid.
The protestors carried banners which reads “we are all wanted, from 1 – 2600”, the number of 2600 symbolizes the number of residents living in Bil’in.
Also, the protestors carried banners in Arabic, Hebrew and English, the banners read; “Date 20-2-2005, penalty; uprooting thee trees, arrest and injuring the residents, night invasions, curfew and siege”, the date written on the banner refers to the date when Israel started bulldozing the residents’ orchards in order to construct the Separation Wall.
One Israeli peace activist was detained by the soldiers on Friday; two Israeli protestors and one Palestinian were injured after the army fired rubber-coated bullet. Dozens of residents and activists suffocated after inhaling gas fire by the army.
Abu Rahma reported that soldiers and under-cover units of the Israeli army are invading the village on daily basis, and breaking into dozens of homes in an attempt to intimidate the residents.
Dozens of residents were arrested in the village since it started conducting its peaceful protests against the Wall. Last Wednesday, Israeli soldiers invade the village after midnight and forced dozens of families out of their homes after breaking into them.
“Today’s protest was also in support of the detainees who were arrested in the village during the military raids”, Abu Rahma said.
Earlier on Friday, Israeli soldiers barred reporters and students of Bier Zeit University from entering the village to participate in the protest.
The residents aided several journalists in crossing into the village after the army closed all of its entrances; the journalists were escorted through the orchards and hills.
Also, protestors carried the names of the eleven residents who were arrested last week in the village, and demanded the army to release them.
Soldiers, and since early morning hours, closed the three entrances of the village and installed military roadblocks. The three entrances link the village with Kharbatah Bani Hareth village, Saffa village, and the village if Kafer Ni’ma.