As local residents of Bil’in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, accompanied by dozens of Israeli and international peace activists, held their weekly protest against the Wall and settlements, Israeli soldiers violently attacked them and fired rounds of live ammunition wounding one resident with a live round; several protesters were also wounded as the army fired gas bombs and rubber-coated bullets. The protest was held by at least two hundred Palestinians and more than thirty Israeli and international peace activists, the Friends of Freedom and Justice (FFJ) in Bil’in reported.
Ashraf Al Khatib, 24, was shot in the leg with a 0.22” caliber live round wile an international peace activist was hit in his shoulder by a gas bomb fired by the army as soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs at the protesters, FFJ said.
The FFJ stated that the protesters marched against the Wall, settlement and in solidarity with the Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem.
They also protested against the killing of a Palestinian resident from Silwan in East Jerusalem who was shot dead by an Israeli security guard on Wednesday morning.
As the protesters marched towards annexation Wall, and demanded to be allowed to enter the village’s lands, Israeli soldiers blocked their way and started pushing and roughing them around.
The protesters were demanding to be allowed into the lands that were officially recognized as Palestinian orchards by the Israeli High Court in 2007. The lands became isolated behind the Wall.
“One Palestinian activist tried to fasten a poster to a soldier’s shield saying “Free Adeeb Abu Rahma,” referring to one of Bil`in’s four political prisoners held by Israel for organizing the weekly protests”, the TFJ reported, “The commander was seen indicating to his soldiers that he wants them to target Ashraf Al-Khatib”.
The FFJ stated that initially the protestors argued with the soldiers and held their positions for thirty minutes until a local youth hurled a stone at the soldiers who responded by firing dozens of gas bombs.
The soldiers apparently wanted to kidnap Al Khatib after shooting him as they immediately ran towards him but the protestors managed to transfer him to a local car and drove away. The soldiers retreated after the car left the area.
Bil’in is one of the leading villages of nonviolent weekly protests against settlements and the Annexation Wall.