Hundreds of Women, School Girls Demonstrate in Beit Ommar

3 March 2008

Today, Monday march 3, the females of Beit Ommar marched against the atrocities being committed by the Israeli military in Gaza. More than 200 women from the village and girls of all ages gathered on the main street and began marching towards the military watchtower. They carried Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli Occupation and in support of national Palestinian unity. Israeli soldiers attacked the demonstration, as they did at similar student demonstrations throughout the West Bank today, firing tear gas, sound grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at the crowd, with some participants as young as 10 years old. The soldiers then began shooting tear gas into the brand new girls’ school, which just opened this year.
At one point, about an hour into the demonstration, the Israeli military arrested one young man on a side street. Several women, including a PSP committee member, immediately intervened. They were also supported by a PSP male activist who was nearby. The man and women stood in front of the jeep to prevent it from driving away. Soldiers then attacked the protesters, punching both PSP members multiple times. Eventually, after threatening more participants with arrests, the soldiers left with the man. Later in the day young men came out into the streets to confront the Israeli military vehicles that were still in Beit Ommar. 6 were reported wounded.

This was the third consecutive day of demonstrations in Beit Ommar against the horrifying attacks on Gaza that have left more than 100 dead and over twice as many wounded. Many Palestinian activists and leaders have been quick to point out that there is still unity and solidarity between the people of the West Bank and the people of Gaza, who have been increasingly isolated after residents rejected the imposition of a Fatah-led government last summer. Mustafa Bargouthi, a member of the Mubadara movement, said yesterday that this looked like the beginning of a return to the tactics of the 1st intifada, in which Palestinians engaged in decentralized, popular resistance to the Israeli Occupation.