Dozens of civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli troops attacked anti wall protests organized at a number of villages in various parts of the West Bank.One citizen was wounded and dozens suffered tear gas inhalation following clashes that took place in the West Bank village of Bil’in. Peace activists and international supporters marched alongside village residents in the weekly demonstration against the wall and settlements, and in solidarity with activist Abdullah Abu Rahma, who was refused release by the Israeli military court of Ofer even after his sentence expired.
The march participants carried Palestinian flags and pictures of Abu Rahma, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in, and chanted slogans condemning the policy of occupation, settlement expansion, and repression against the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. They also chanted slogans condemning the attacks on the houses of Jerusalem, plus calls to stop the policy of deportation and exclusionand to release all detainees and political prisoners, particularly those involved in the non-violent resistance.
The demonstrators marched from the village while calling for unity and rejection of differences, and confirmed the need for a resounding Palestinian resistance to occupation and freedom for Palestine.
The march headed toward the wall, where the military force of the Israeli occupation army was waiting behind concrete blocks. They had closed the gate of the wall with barbed wire. The army fired sound bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas at them from all directions, resulting in injury to 18-year-old Kamel Khatib, who was shot in the hip by a rubber-coated metal bullet. Dozens of participants experienced the ill effects of tear gas inhalation.
The Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in called for condemnation of the military court’s refusal to release Abdullah Abu Rahma, and appeals to the international community and international human rights organizations to stand with Abu Rahma, whose prison term has expired yet still remains in jail.
In the nearby village of Ni’lin the weekly protest started when villagers conducted the Friday prayers near the Israeli built wall on their lands. Israeli and international supporters also joined Ni’lin villagers.
The weekly action finished when local youth and Israeli troops clashed. Soldiers then chased the protesters and the local youth back to the village and used tear gas; a number of people were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the southern west Bank, the villagers of al-Ma’sara, along with their international and Israeli supporters, marched, on Friday, from the village center towards their lands where the State of Israel is building the wall. Troops stopped them at the village entrance and used tear gas to force them back.
Around 30 protesters gathered in the town of Nabi Saleh, where they were met by tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets fired by the Israeli military.
These protests occur every Friday in a number of towns, wherever Wall construction is going on, the Israeli military’s response to the non-violent protests is always violent and repressive. 18 non-violent demonstrators have been killed during these demonstrations since they began in earnest in 2005.