Israeli forces dispersed Friday demonstrations in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners and in protest against the illegal Israeli occupation and its apartheid wall in three West Bank cities on Friday, including in Bilin, al-Masara and Nabi Saleh. Dozens were injured after soldiers opened fire on protesters with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters.In Bilin, near Ramallah, Ma’an reports that the army fired tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets at participants engaged in a solidarity protest for more than 100 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have been on hunger strike for a month, as well as against continued Israeli settlement construction and the massive ‘separation barrier’ which coarses through the region.
Israel began building the wall in 2002, and has been the target of regular demonstrations by border towns whose land is cut off by its path, inhibiting freedom of movement and invoking profound humiliation and dissent among Palestinian residents.
Previous protests by Bilin activists forced Israeli authorities to re-route the wall, but large chunks of the village still remain inaccessible to residents because of the wall.
Craig and Cindy Corrie, the parents of American activist Rachel Corrie who was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, participated in the protest along with other Palestinians and Israelis, as well as international activists.
In al-Masara village, to the south of Bethlehem, Ma’an further reports that Israeli forces also dispersed a solidarity protest in support of hunger-striking prisoners.
Dozens marched through the village, raising Palestinian flags and posters of prisoners, before they were stopped by Israeli forces, near the entrance of the village, where they were prevented from reaching their confiscated lands.
Since 2006, the residents of al-Masara have protested the Israeli occupation on a weekly basis, as well.
Israeli forces also targeted a weekly protest in support of prisoners in the village of Nabi Saleh, where they fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the entrance of the village, causing a number of injuries and suffocations due to tear gas inhalation.
Israeli forces had abducted one Odai al-Tamimi, aged 21, in an overnight raid, provoking an outrage among residents, according to local organizers.
According to Ma’an, the village is also the site of weekly protests against the Israeli occupation, with residents demanding their lands, confiscated by Israeli forces to build a Jewish-only settlement, nearby, be returned to them.