Three separate anti-Wall protests in different parts of the West Bank were attacked by Israeli troops on Friday. Soldiers used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against the unarmed, non-violent demonstrators in al-Masara (near Bethlehem), Bil’in and Nil’in (both near Ramallah).In al-Masara, two dozen international and Israeli protesters joined the villagers after the midday prayers at the local mosque and marched to their lands were Israel is building the wall.
Israeli troops stopped the protest at the entrance of the village; then used batons and rifle butts to force people back into the village. Organizers delivered speeches in the memory of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, who died six years ago, and the protest ended.
In the central West Bank village of Ni’lin, villagers held midday prayers at their land near the wall, and were later joined by Israeli and international supporters to march to a gate in the wall separating local farmers from their lands.
Israeli soldiers stationed there fired tear gas and sound bombs at the unarmed protesters; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. The protest in Nil’in today, like the one in al-Masara, was in memory of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
And at the weekly protest in the central West Bank village of Bil’in, known as the center of non-violent resistance in Palestine due to its uninterrupted string of weekly protests since 2005, the protest started shortly after the midday prayers at the local mosque.
As has been the case for over five years, protesters marched from the village to local farmers’ lands on the other side of the wall. This week the protest was, again, in commemoration of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
As soon as protesters reached the gate of the wall separating villages from their lands, local organizers and political leaders made speeches. When people tried to cross the gate to their lands, Israeli soldiers stationed there fired tear gas and sound bombs at them. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
This week the Bil’in protest ended with clashes between local youth and Israeli soldiers, but without injury.