Israeli forces attacked a non-violent protest near Qalqilia Sunday, injuring several international activists including a 60-year old woman who was hit in the head by shrapnel. Three international peace activists were arrested by Israeli forces and face deportation and probable 10-year bans from the country.The protesters gathered Sunday morning at the town of Izbet al-Tabib, south of Qalqilia, as Israeli troops arrived to demolish a protest tent set up by locals and internationals to protect the village land from further annexation by the Israeli Wall, which has already cut off 45% of the village’s land.
The protesters chanted and stood in front of Israeli armored bulldozers (manufactured in Illinois by US company ‘Caterpillar’) in an attempt to stop the demolition of the protest tent. But the Israeli armored vehicles pushed forward, and several protesters were injured trying to flee the shrapnel of the demolition.
In addition to the injuries of the 60-year old American peace activist, which included both a gash on her head and an injured (possibly broken) wrist, another activist was hit in the face by shrapnel. Three international activists were arrested by Israeli troops: one from Sweden, and two from Britain.
According to the International Solidarity Movement, which organized the protest, after the Israeli attack on the peace activists, Bayan Tabib, the head of the village council, received a promise from an Israeli Civil Administration officer, that the fence will only be erected on the far end of Highway 55, thus not cutting off the village’s access to the road or their land. Tabib attributed the promise to today’s protest, saying the “The protest today is the only reason that they agreed to move the fence.”
The village of Izbet al-Tabib, which consists of 45 structures and is home to 247 residents, was built in the 1920’s and is located entirely in area C according to the 1995 Interim Agreement (Oslo II). Israeli authorities do not recognize the village and 32 out of its 45 houses, as well as its school, have been served demolition orders in recent years. Izbet al-Tabib is the fifth poorest village in the West Bank and villagers have already lost 45% of their land due to the construction of Israel’s Annexation Wall.