Even the Dead Are a Security Threat?

23 February 2007

Today, Israeli Ocupation Forces erected a roadblock on one of the main roads to the cemetery in Beit Ommar, cutting off a section of the village from entering it. When the people of Beit Ommar approached the soldiers to ask for an explanation for the roadblock, they were told it was for “security”. This road ends at the cemetery and has no outlet onto the nearby settler road; it is an internal roadblock, only cutting off one section of the village from the other. When people of Beit Ommar continued to ask for an explanation, the soldiers used tear gas, rubber and plastic bullets and sound grenades to force the people out of the area.

There was a spontaneous demonstration in the area that lasted for several hours as the people of Beit Ommar tried to prevent the construction of the illegal roadblock. Dozens more soldiers arrived and cut the power lines to the street lights, presumably to give them cover to attack civilians after dark.

Indeed, in an act of sheer provocation, the Israeli Occupation Forces attacked a wedding party in the early evening, firing tear gas into an enclosed area filled with women and children. Several children were made sick because of the extreme amounts of tear gas they were forced to inhale. Over 1000 people poured into the streets to protest the attack on innocent civilians.

There have been weekly demonstrations in Beit Ommar and across the West Bank protesting the continuation of the excavations on the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem. Today the Israeli Army was not content with its usual display of extreme force in response to the demonstrations but instead seemed determined to provoke the residents of Beit Ommar who did not have a planned demonstration for today.

Note: PSP does not intend to allow an illegal roadblock to remain in Beit Ommar.