21-year old Ibrahim Awad was shot in the head at close range by a plastic-coated steel bullet fired by Israeli forces at a protest in Beit Ummar, in the southern part of the West Bank. A journalist was wounded in Bil’in and three were injured by pepper spray in al-Walaja, near Bethlehem.Popular committee spokesman Yousef Abu Maria said the protest was held to challenge the ongoing violations of Palestinians’ rights by Israeli settlers in the Hebron area.
Anti wall and settlement protests were organized this week in the villages of al Nabi Saleh, Bil’in, Nil’in as well as Al Walaja in southern west Bank.
Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when soldiers attacked villagers and their supporters at the village of Bil’in, Ni’lin and al Nabi Saleh.
In 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. Haytham Al Khatieb, a local journalist from Bil’in also sustained light wounds in his hand when soldiers shot him with rubber-coated steel bullets.
However at the nearby Al Nabi Saleh village Israeli soldiers attacked the unarmed protesters at the village entrance then invaded the village and fired tear gas into residents’ homes. Earlier in the week Israeli settlers from the illegal Halmish settlement near Al Nabi Saleh closed the road leading to the village and attacked residents cars and homes. Damage was reported but no injuries.
Elsewhere, In Al-Walaja village near Bethlehem, residents marched towards the gate installed on the eastern entrance of the village which separates the village from the nearby Cremisan Monastery. The gate is part of the separation wall built on the village’s land.
The protest was called for by the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements as part of a week of popular resistance activities to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Palestinian dispossession in 1948 known by Palestinians as al-Nakba.
As soon as the protesters arrived at the gate, Israeli soldiers started pushing them backwards away from the gate, which was recently installed.
Protesters tried to force their way through, and three protesters suffered burns in the face as Israeli troops sprayed them with pepper spray.
The three young men have been transferred to the nearby Arabic Society Rehabilitation hospital for treatment, where their condition has been described as moderate.