Israelis and international supporters joined on Friday the weekly nonviolent protest against the wall in the village of Bil’in, central West Bank.Demonstrators in Bil’in today formed their own Palestine national football team, coinciding with the start of the World Cup, to highlight their right to be an independent nation.
Shortly after the midday prayers the players, together with dozens of other Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, marched to the gate of the wall at the edge of the village, where a goal was constructed and a game was begun. This gate separates the villages from their lands.
Several footballs were kicked over the fence onto land owned by the village. Israeli soldiers responded to this entirely non-violent activity by firing volleys of tear gas at the participants.
Soldiers then came through the fence, and arrested 6 journalists, four of whom were soon released. Two – one Palestinian and one international – remain in detention.
The tear gas canisters fired also caused large fires on the dry ground around the olive trees. Soldiers fired more canisters, aiming for the groups of villagers attempting to put out the flames.