Israeli troops arrested four protesters near the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday when a group of Palestinians and their international supporters conducted a sit-in at the settlers’ supermarket near Ramallah. The store belongs to Rami Levy Stores Corporation which market Israeli settlement products for Palestinian consumers.
Israeli troops arrived at the scene and used rifle butts and batons to force nonviolent protesters out before arresting two Palestinians and two internationals. Once outside the store soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs at protesters, many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Among the arrested was Bassem at-Tammimi who was badly injured and was moved by Israeli troops to a hospital after they arrested him.
Mohamed at-Tammimi, one of the organizers, told IMEMC via a phone interview that, “[w]e are sending a message that those settlement products are illegal and Rami Levy Store represents the illegal settlements.”
At-Tammimi added, “we hope that our people stop going to those stores because not only is it illegal, but it also damages our local products and economy.”
In 2010 Rami Levy Stores opened a number of shops near illegal West Bank settlements shortly after the Palestinian Authority announced a law that makes it illegal for Palestinians to sell, buy or market products coming from Israeli West Bank settlements.
According to international law, all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and those in and around east Jerusalem, home to over half a million settlers, are illegal.