Ni’lin: Soldiers viciously attack peace activists

11 July 2008

Beaten protester Nilin 10 July 2008

On Thursday, July 10, the residents of Ni’lin demonstrated again, in defiance of the Occupation forces’ crackdown on protest.

Earlier this week, Ni’lin was subjected to a four day siege and curfew, which failed to break the ongoing popular action to stop the construction of the Wall on village land.

Palestinian, Israeli and International activists headed towards a bulldozer. Soldiers opened fire with teargas and rubber bullets, before attacking with batons. Reportedly 25 people have been injured, three of them seriously.

Activists from AATW and PSP were close to the bulldozers when they were viciously attacked with batons by IDF soldiers, your PSP correspondent personally witnessed a soldier breaking his baton while hitting an AATW activist on the leg, just below the knee. The soldiers continued to beat the three of us on the ground, breaking another baton in the process. Faced with such brutally two of us carried the most injured away, then another soldier threw tear gas canisters towards us while we retreated.

Several other activists were hit with batons and some soldiers were seen to be using sticks from the ground (perhaps after breaking their batons).

It is clear that the Occupation forces are adopting a strategy of escalating violence. However, faced with the isolation and land theft of the Wall, the people of Ni’lin will continue to resist – there is no other choice.

After the protest Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad held a press conference in Ni’lin, regarding the four day curfew the Israeli army imposed on the village this week.

On Monday evening, nearly 400 people from nearby villages made their way to Ni’lin in an effort to break the four day long curfew and siege on the village. The marchers were met by the residents of Ni’lin, who left their homes in defiance of the curfew to confront Occupation military forces.

Violent clashes ensued, with soldiers firing live rounds at villagers and injuring three. A 26-year-old Nil’lin resident was critically wounded when he was hit in the stomach and the bullet lodged in his spine. Another resident of Ni’lin, was shot in the leg, while a third young man from Shuqba took a live bullet in the eye.

Soldiers proceeded to damage around 50 homes in the villages, destroying property inside the homes and beating residents.

On Tuesday morning, Israeli Occupation forces withdrew and residents attempted to repair the damage. The following day clashes resumed, and residents fought against soldiers into the evening.