Israeli soldiers attacked a peaceful procession against the Separation Wall in Bil’in village, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Six residents were injured, dozens of residents, especially women and children, suffocated after inhaling gas fired by the army.
The protestors also called for releasing the members of the Christian Peacemaker, who were abducted in Iraq.
Rateb Abu Rahma, member of the Popular Committee Against the wall reported that the procession took place directly after Friday prayers at the village’s mosque. The protestors, locals, Israel and international peace activities carried replicas of the settlements in the area.
The replicas represent the settlement of Modin Elite bloc the largest settlement in the areas and the settlements of Keryat Sefer, Lapid, Hashmona’im, and Shilat.
“The replicas we carried represent our rejection to the recent statements of Tzipi Livni who said that the Wall represents the political borders”, Abu Rahma stated, “We reject the Wall and the settlements in the occupied territories”.
Tzipi Livni, the Israeli Justice Minister, stated on Thursday that the Separation Wall Israel is constructing in the West Bank represents Israel’s future borders, and that the settlements in the West Bank represent Israel’s political borders in any peace deal.
Also, Abu Rahma told the IMEMC that soldiers demolished the replicas of the settlements, which represented the Israeli policy of annexation and settlement expansion.
“This was a moral victory for us, we wanted them to destroy the replica, in a move which symbolizes the need to dismantle the settlements in the West Bank”, Abu Rahma added, “They have to dismantle West Bank settlements, as they dismantled Gaza settlements, and they have to tear down the Wall”.
Abu Rahma informed the IMEMC that the protestors also called for the release of four peace activists abducted in Iraq.
The four victims are member of a Christian organization called the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), who work for peace in conflict areas such as Palestine, the Chiapas in Mexico and in Iraq, among other countries.
The CPT has been functional in southern West Bank city of Hebron since 1995 and joined several activities in solidarity with the Palestinian people since the second Intifada started in 2000. The group has been very instrumental in minimizing friction between Jewish settlers and soldiers and Palestinian civilians in Hebron.
The CPT, also co-founders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), conduct nonviolent methods in their work in their violence reduction program, as they mostly have a Mennonite background.
The four team members, Tom Fox, 54-year-old American, Norman Kember, 74-year-old Briton, James Loney, 41 and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32 both from Canada, went missing on November 26, later their images where shown on Al-Jazeera Satellite channel.
“They have been here with us in Palestine, protested with us against the Wall and settlements”, Abu Rahma said, “They should be released immediately”.
Soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets, and gas bombs, at the peaceful protest; six residents were injured; resident Nathmi Yassin, 42, was hit by a rubber coated bullet in his head and is in a serious condition, Tareq Abu Rahma, 10, suffocated after inhaling gas, Adeeb Ahmad, suffered bruises after being badly beaten by the soldiers and was arrested, Sameer Bornat, 30, rubber-coated bullet injury, and Riziq Issa, 20.
One Israel peace activist, identified as Jay Amnon, 23, was injured, and two others were arrested.
In a separate incident, soldiers attacked a peaceful protest against the Separation wall in Aboud village, near Ramallah.