2 Detained as Soldiers Attack Demonstration at Al-Ma’asara

31 May 2008

Approximately 40 people participated in this week’s Friday demonstration in South Betlehem, organized by the people of Al-Ma’asara and joined by international and Israeli activists. Participants gathered at the entrance to Al-Ma’asara and attempted to march towards the site of the construction of the Annexation Barrier. As in the past several weeks, the Israeli military strung barbed wire across the road, preventing the demonstrators from moving out of the village. Young Palestinians began to move the barbed wire, with some help from supporters, including members of PSP and Anarchists Against the Wall. After a small gap was made in the barbed wire and Israeli and international activists began to move through it, soldiers attacked them, grabbing one Israeli man and viciously dragging him, first by his backpack, and then by the collar of his shirt until both tore and his glasses were broken. He was taken and put in the back of the police jeep. An international activist with PSP was also detained after police put handcuffs on one of her wrists and then pulled her by the handcuff to the police jeep. She was released after less than 15 minutes. Palestinian participants then negotiated the release of the Israeli activist who also released after the demonstrators moved back towards the village.