Around 200 hundred people, including international and Israeli
activists joined together in Bil'in village near the city of Ramallah
in the West Bank for the weekly demonstration against the illegal
annexation of the village's land. Nearly 60% of Bil'in has been lost as
the route of the wall cuts directly through the area.
Soldiers awaited the procession at the gate west of the village, and did not immediately intervene when several Palestinians and activists crossed through the razor wire and began walking the length along the first fence.
Several sections of razor wire were pulled apart along the path of the Wall to allow other Palestinians passage through to the barrier's fence. Soldiers responded intermittently with sound bombs and used batons to strike the hands of Israeli activists attempting to untie sections of wire fastened to the fence. The demonstration remained non-violent throughout.
On the walk back, residents noticed soldiers had occupied three Palestinian homes at the top of a hill. Soldiers had been using these locations to fire tear gas at youths not participating in the main demonstration. Demonstrators chanted to the soldiers who retreated from one house, but remained inside another, and on the roof of the third.
Soldiers fired tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets and sound bombs While Palestinians entered the second home to force an additional four soldiers to leave. In an ensuing scuffle, soldiers attempted to arrest one resident, Farhan Burnat (26), though residents and activists prevented them from removing him in custody.
The military beat those attempting to free Burnat with clubs. Soldiers on the rooftop of an occupied home fired large quantities of gas toward the demonstrators and shot several residents with rubber-coated bullets, including Abdullah Abu Rahme, a local organizer of the Grassroots Popular Committee Against the Wall.
In an exclusive interview with the IMEMC, Abu Rahme stated, “We de-arrested a man, and Iwas about 100-150 meters away, raising a Palestinian flag when the soldiers shot me with two rubber bullets. They were beating the man they were trying to arrest, and they beat Mohammed Al-Khatib badly.”
Mohammed Al-Khatib, another local organizer with the Popular Committee Against the Wall, is currently receiving treatment for his injuries.