On Friday, in the weekly march in Bil’in organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall with the participation of Sa’di Tameezi, the Palestinian ambassador to Vietnam, two young men were injured, and dozens of people suffered from the effects of tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers. Dozens of Palestinians were joined by international and Israeli activists, commemorating the 14 people who were killed in the demonstrations held on the anniversary of the Nakba last Suday.
The march began in the center of the village after Friday prayers. In the area above the wall, demonstrators raised the Palestinian flag, as well as banners inscribed with the names of villages destroyed in 1948 and pictures of the imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti. Participants chanted nationalist slogans in favor of the right of return (the return of refugees to the land from which they were expelled).
At the eastern gate of the wall, Israeli soldiers fired a shower of tear gas;; they also sprayed ‘stink’ water, water treated with a chemical that gives it a foul smell that can’t be removed from people’s clothes. Among those injured were Ibrahim Burnat, 28, who was hit by a tear gas canister in the abdomen, and 22-year-old Mohammed Suleiman Burnat, who, after severe choking and vomiting caused by tear gas, had to be treated by ambulance crews.
The soldiers also fired tear gas into the olive groves, with the purpose of setting fire to them. The people of Bil’in were able to put out the fire.
This demonstration took place the day after Obama’s speech on the Middle East. In a statement from the Popular Committee Against the Wall, organizers stated, “Our response to that speech is: Obama is not the God who will decide our fate, and we are not depending on him. Through the popular struggle we will achieve our goals: freedom, return and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”