On Friday midday, Palestinian, international and Israeli activists destroyed part of the foundation of the illegal Israeli wall being built in Um Salamunah village south of Bethlehem city in the southern part of the West Bank.
Demonstrators marched to the site wearing chains around their wrists, symbolizing the imprisonment of the Palestinian people with the construction of the Annexation Wall. They filled cement support structures for the barrier with rocks and then moved on to a low cement wall that was supposed to be part of the foundation of the patrol road being built as part of the Annexation Barrier structure.
Activists tore off the metal and wood reinforcements around a cement foundation built earlier this week and set fire to the wood beams. They also used the metal siding as battering rams to damage the cement foundation of The Barrier which is considered illegal under international law.
As soldiers approached, the demonstrators sat down chained together. At that point the soldiers rushed at Yousef Abu Maria, coordinator with Palestine Solidarity Project, and attempted to drag him away from the group. Demonstrators, still linked to him, were kicked, choked, and trampled by soldiers as they brutally beat Yousef in an attempt to abduct him. Yousef was clearly targeted as an organizer in the area; at no point did the Israeli Forces attempt to abduct anyone else in the demonstration.
International and Israeli activists, as well as other Palestinians from PSP grabbed Yousef and clung to him to protect him from the savage beating he was getting as he was being dragged away.
The Israeli Occupation Forces are refusing to tell Yousef’s lawyer what he is being charged with, though they have notified her that they will be charging him. This means they can hold him up to 8 days before being brought in front of a judge.
Overall, 12 people were injured, including another PSP coordinator who was hit in the head with a rifle butt and may have a concussion and an Israeli activist whose lip was split.