This Weekend in Ni’lin

20 August 2008

On Thursday, August 14, more than 100 people gathered in the center of the town in Ni’lin and set out on a familiar path to the international and Israeli activists that have been supporting this popular resistance against the construction of the Annexation Barrier for several months now. Residents and solidarity activists got relatively close to the bulldozers, an accomplishment in and of itself after months of violent repression by the Israeli military. However, they were met with copious amounts of tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets and were forced back into the village. Soldiers then rained tear gas into the center of town and, in particular, shot at a local mosque. They also shot tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian youth who had not been part of the demonstration but had come out of their houses to look when the military moved into the village. 8 people were reportedly injured, mostly with rubber-coated steel bullets.

On Friday, August 15, residents continued their new tradition of holding midday prayers on the land and then attempting to march to the site of construction, though the Israeli bulldozers do not work on Fridays. Even so, dozens of soldiers met the protesters just minutes after they finished the prayer. Once again, even though they were bombarded with gas and rubber bullets, the demonstration lasted for hours, with groups of residents continuously regrouping to face the Israeli military again and again. In the end, 7 people were injured by tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets.

Sunday afternoon, August 17, was a smaller demonstration, with 40 Palestinians and 10 Israelis and internationals joining them. Still, the demonstration was lively and participants got relatively close to the construction site yet again, before being pushed back violently by Israeli Occupation Forces.

With demonstrations 4 or 5 times a week Ni’lin is making the construction of the Annexation Barrier extremely costly, both morally for the Israeli military who has had to attempt to justify the excessive force used against unarmed children, and monetarily; paying overtime for soldiers, and slowing down construction all puts small dents in the Israeli military machine.