Demonstrators Attacked As They Open Razor Wire Fence in Al-Ma’asara

22 June 2008

On Friday, June 20th, about 50 Palestinian activists and 15 Israelis and internationals gathered in Al-Ma’asara for the weekly demonstration against the Annexation Barrier. The group marched up the road to the temporary razor wire fence, erected to prevent activists from approaching the construction site. Several young boys led the march, carrying Palestinian flags.

When the group reached the barrier, a few of the young Palestinians began to pull on the razor wire. About a dozen soldiers stationed on the opposite side of the fence pulled the fence back, threatening the young activists. After about 15 minutes of arguing with the soldiers and chanting slogans, the protesters decided to attempt to open the fence.

Israeli activists and internationals with PSP sprinted to the edge of the fence and pulled it open. They managed to pull the fence about halfway across the road before being tackled by soldiers. Three more Israelis and internationals grabbed onto the activists, preventing the soldiers from dragging them away. The group sat down in the middle of the road and linked arms and legs. The activists were quickly surrounded by soldiers. One Israeli activist who had been filming the skirmish ran into the fray to help.

The soldiers struggled to disentangle the activists by violently pulling on their limbs and hair. They threw a sound grenade, but the activists were unfazed. Approximately 10 more soldiers arrived on the scene. However, the 2 police officers present hung back and did not call for support.

After a few attempts to separate the activists, the soldiers managed to pull two Israelis away from the group. One of the Israelis was dragged across the razor wire fence. Both activists were detained in military jeeps.

Eventually a Palestinian activist negotiated with the soldiers and the remaining Israelis and internationals in the group (including 3 PSP members) were allowed to return to the back of the crowd. The soldiers agreed to free the 2 detainees if the protesters backed away from the fence. The crowd complied, and after about 10 minutes the detainees were released.