Keeping Up the Pressure: Beit Ommar Demonstrates Against Settlement for Second Week
This Saturday, January 12, international and Israeli activists, including those from PSP and Anarchists Against the Wall joined nearly 70 residents of Beit Ommar to demonstrate against the illegal Israeli Settlement, Karmi Tsur, home to about 700 settlers, which was built on the land of Beit Ommar and the Palestinian village of Halhul in 1984. In the past 5 years, the population of Karmi Tsur has increased nearly 7 times, and has continued to expand, stealing more and more Palestinian agricultural land. The Popular Committee or Beit Ommar, which support from PSP, agreed to a campaign of demonstrations against the settlement to highlight the conditions Palestinian residents are facing due to the continued presence of isolated settlements scattered throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Participants in Saturday’s demonstration met on the edge of the village and marched towards the settlement. A sound system, mounted on a taxi, led the way, playing traditional Palestinian intifada music.
Israeli soldiers blocked the path of the demonstrators who then scattered throughout the olive groves, trying to get as close to the settlement as possible to ensure their message was heard. Several participants sat down in amongst the trees, refusing to move as the Israeli army attempted to prevent the demonstration from continuing. The Israeli soldiers then declared the entire area a ‘closed military zone’, essentially attempting to forbid the people from being on their own land. Soldiers then attempted to detain the driver of the taxi holding the sound system. The taxi withdrew towards the village and pursuit by the army was foiled by a makeshift barricade quickly assembled by the youth. Young boys also jumped onto the hood of an Israeli military hummer to cheers and chants of fellow demonstrators, but were violently thrown off by Israeli soldiers.
The soldiers shot tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets as young boys threw rocks at the armored vehicles. The soldiers the entered the edge of the village, shooting tear gas into residential areas. Several small children were treated for gas inhalation while in their homes. No other injuries were reported and residents saw the demonstration as a success overall. The Popular Committee and the village will continue the demonstrations every Saturday until the settlements are dismantled.