Israeli troops attack non-violent protests in six Palestinian villages

13 Apr
1:58 PM

On Friday, non-violent protests against the Israeli Wall and settlements were organized in the villages of al Nabi Saleh, Bil’in, Nil’in and Silwad in central West Bank, in addition to Beit Omer and Al Ma’ssara in southern west Bank. In the central West Bank village of Al Nabi Saleh, five local youth and an international supporter, were injured by rubber coated steel bullets fired by Israeli soldiers at the weekly anti wall and settlements protest of Al Nabi saleh village. Villagers and their international supporters marched at the midday prayers towards lands Israeli took over to construct an illegal settlement on.

Troops stopped the protest at the village entrance and attacked the unarmed protesters with tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets, later troops invaded the village and attacked residents’ homes with tear gas. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

According to a report by the International Solidarity Movement, “As protesters walked chanting and clapping towards a large group of Israeli military personnel and jeeps blocking the road, they were ambushed. Border police officers who had invaded the village shot multiple volleys of rubber coated steel bullets directly at unarmed protesters from a vantage point on top of the hill, as protesters retreated.

“The same international activist who had previously been shot was again shot with two bullets; one in the ribs on the back and the other on the stomach. This breaks the Israeli forces’ own rules of engagement which state that rubber coated bullets should be fired at the legs. Despite the fact that officers clearly saw that the activist was injured, they continued shooting rubber coated steel bullets along the road. The activist was immediately assisted by Red Crescent personnel and taken to hospital by ambulance. She is in good health condition, recovering from the injuries at home.”

In the nearby villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, residents and their international and Israeli supporters managed to reach the wall. Soldiers stationed there fired tear gas and chemical water on protesters. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

In Silwad village on Friday, residents protested against the new Israeli settlement on their lands and conducted the midday prayers at lands the settlers plan to take over. After the prayers soldiers attacked protesters with tear gas. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Thursday settlers attacked a farmer from Silwad and injured him, when the villagers objected the attack Israeli soldiers attacked them and one youth was injured during the clashes.

In addition to the four villages that organized protests in the central West Bank, protests were also organized in the southern West Bank, in the village of Al Ma’ssara near Bethlehem and in the nearby city of Hebron.

In al Ma’ssara village, Israeli troops stopped the villagers and their supporters at village entrance then forced them back using rifle butts and batons, no injuries were reported.

Non-violent protests have been organized on a weekly basis in several Palestinian villages since Wall construction began on villagers’ land in 2003.

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Ghassan Bannoura

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