New “Weapons” Employed by Israeli Military in Ni’lin Anti-Barrier Demonstrations

9 August 2008

This Friday, more than 100 residents of Ni’lin along with their Israeli and international supporters held Friday’s midday prayer on the land near the site of the Annexation Barrier construction and then attempted to march towards the site of the construction. Though bulldozers do not work on construction on Fridays, participants wanted to march to the razor-wire fence that had been erected on Ni’lin land and attempt to dismantle it. During the prayer, Israeli Occupation Forces were spread out throughout the fields, just out of site and surrounding the group on three sides. After speeches about the need to continue the popular resistance, the participants set out to march towards the construction site. Almost immediately, they were met by nearly a dozen soldiers, and some new “toys”. Some soldiers had attack dogs, who, though muzzled, were incredibly aggressive and intimidating. Other soldiers, wearing surgical masks, had devices never seen before. With tanks strapped on their backs they held high-powered sprayers. As demonstrators attempted to advance past the line of soldiers, several were sprayed with what could only be described as “toilet” water. Some unknown liquid with a powerful stench of feces was sprayed on demonstrators. Though no immediate harm was detected, the smell was so overpowering that participants who received a blast at close range were forced to rush to a home and shower.
The spray, though powerful, was not sufficient to deter the demonstrators so soldiers quickly resorted to their usual tools of force, shooting huge amounts of tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. After one tear gas canister was shot into a crowd of young men, 4 youth ran up to it and tried to cover it with dirt to stop its effects. Soldiers shot another tear gas canister directly into the group of boys, hitting one in the forearm creating a huge gash that bled profusely.
Palestinian youth and their supporters then spread out along the edge of the village and soldiers responded to stone-throwing with more tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Plastic-coated steel bullets, like those that killed Yousef Amira and are outlawed internationally, as well as live ammunition, were also found. One cameraman was shot in the leg with a rubber-coated steel bullet. Exchanges between youth and soldiers continued for over 2 hours, as the young generation of Ni’lin attempted to defend their land.