On Friday, the villagers of Bilin, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, were joined by international and Israeli supporters to conduct the weekly non-violent protest against the illegal Israeli wall being built on the village land.
This week, the protest focused on commemorating the fourth anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie, the American International Solidarity Movement volunteer who was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer while she was trying to protect a Palestinian house in Rafah City in the Gaza Strip in 2003.
As is the case every week, protestors arrived at the gate in the wall separating the villagers from their land which has been annexed behind the wall, chanting and singing anti-occupation slogans. Upon their arrival, Israeli soldiers fired sound and tear gas bombs and rubber coated bullets at the demonstrators, which led the local youths to respond by throwing rocks at the soldiers.
During the protest, seven protestors were injured, among them a child and one journalist working for Ramatan news agency.
Three of the injured people had to be moved to hospitals, among them Fadi Nasser, who was shot in the head, medical sources reported. Another two Israelis and two Palestinians were abducted by Israeli troops and were moved to a detention facility. One of the Israelis and two Palestinians were released after being abused by the Israeli troops.
In a new move to crush the weekly protest in the village of Bilin, The Popular Committee Against the Wall told IMEMC that during the past week the Israeli secret service, Shin Bet, have been telephoning activists at home and threatening that if they continued to demonstrate they would be arrested, shot or killed. Shin Bet ordered some of the activists to attend interrogations at a nearby military base. Shin Bet is notorious for thuggish policies, and has faced numerous allegations of violating international law and human rights.
The sources also added that this week the Israeli army started to distribute leaflets written in Arabic, trying to dissuade people from attending the weekly protest by saying that it is a protest for no reason, since the wall will be built anyway. This effort was seen by the local organizers as a sign that the Israeli army is failing to crush the demonstration.