In the weekly protest today in the village of Bil’in near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, two peaceful Israeli protesters paid the price for standing in solidarity with the villagers of Bilin.
They were protesting the theft of village land when they were attacked by Israeli troops and had to be carried to an ambulance for evacuation. Ben received a blow to the forehead from a rifle butt, whilst a sound bomb was thrown at Jonathan’s foot and exploded on his shoe, leaving him unable to walk. Jonathan talked to IMEC from his hospital bed and said that soldiers intended to injury him and they used violence for no reason.
After the last two large demonstrations, today’s march to the illegal wall could be seen as an anti-climax. However, the villagers of Bil’in were determined to maintain the momentum of their struggle and were not disheartened by the turn-out of around a hundred people.
As has been the pattern in recent weeks, soldiers reacted aggressively to the peaceful chanting and flag waving. When a few stray stones came their way they were quick to try and disperse the crowd with tear gas and sound grenades. Large numbers poured through the gate to remove those who remained and many were grabbed and pushed away merely for being there.
Unable to control themselves, the soldiers continued to use sound bombs and batons against the protesters. Iyad Burnat, a member of the popular committee in Bil’in who was hospitalized after the demonstration two weeks ago, was again targeted and beaten. Eleven other protesters were shot with rubber bullets.