Friday Demonstrations Violently Disrupted

29 March 2009

This Friday, like every Friday for the past few years, saw demonstrations across the West Bank. In Al-Ma’asara, residents along with Israeli and international solidarity activists marched towards the razor-wire arbitrarily placed along the entrance to the village beyond which more than a dozen soldiers, some from a unit that was involved in the massive invasion in Beit Ommar, waited. Demonstrators, carrying Palestinian and party-affiliated flags, began climbing a pile of stones to the side of the razor-wire, demanding their right to access their lands beyond the line. They were met by Israeli soldiers and border police who began grabbing demonstrators and attempted to push them off the mound of stones. Committee member Mahmoud Zahre announced to the soldiers that the demonstrators merely wanted to march to their land in commemoration of Land Day, A Palestinian day of resistance in honor of 6 Palestinians who were killed during demonstrations against land theft in the Galilee, on March 30, 1976.
During the stand-off with soldiers, a woman resident who attends the demonstrations weekly, took hold of one end of the razor wire and began removing it from the road. Israeli soldiers quickly grabbed her, pushing her away from the demonstration and replacing the wire.

Israeli forces also attacked members of the media several times during the demonstration, pushing them off of low walls and blocks they were standing on to document the demonstration, in violation of international principles of press freedom.

In Bil’in, demonstrators marched towards the gate in the Seperation Barrier that was constructed there nearly two years ago. They were quickly confronted with tear gas and sound grenades and were forced to retreat back towards the village.

In Ni’lin, residents, joined by Israeli and international solidarity activists, marched together towards their land. While still well inside the village they were attacked by the Israeli military who used extreme force, fully invading the village and shooting tear gas, sound grenades, and live ammunition. One Palestinian was shot in the leg with live ammunition.