After the residents, Israeli and international peace activists, started their weekly peaceful protest against the Separation Wall in Bil’in village, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Israeli soldiers obstructed them and fired rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs while attempting to bar them from reaching the construction area.Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, reported that the protesters attempted to reach a room they installed near the Wall in order to protest against it and and against land expropriation for settlement construction and expansion.
“Twenty protesters managed to reach the site, stood near the military bulldozers, and raised a Palestinian flag”, Abu Rahma stated, “soldiers surrounded and attacked them, and threatened to arrest them if they do not leave the area”.
In total, six protesters were injured by rubber-coated bullets, dozens suffocated after inhaling gas fired by the army.
Soldiers detained eleven international peace activists, two Israelis and two Palestinians. All were held for three hours before they were released, except for one Israeli peace activist who was transferred to a nearby military base.
In a separate incident, soldiers fired gas bombs at dozens of homes, west of the village.
Responding to a question regarding allegations that the protesters initiate violence during their protests, Abu Rahma said that the protests are peaceful in nature, and are held along with internationals and Israelis, but the military presence, and the provocations carried by the soldiers cause tension and lead to further clashes.
Each week, soldiers close the entrances of the village and attempt to bar Israeli and international activists from entering it.
“The presence of the army is provocation, their checkpoints, wall, settlement activities and land grab are direct violations to our rights, and the international law”, Abu Rahma added, “We have a protest center behind the Wall, we always protest peacefully there, we have the right to resist the occupation and to resist the land expropriation policy practiced against us”.