Friday Demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, Al-Ma’asara, and Sheikh Jarrah

9 January 2010

This Friday another village added a demonstration to the regular mix across the West Bank: Nabi Saleh in the Ramallah district had a demonstration of over 300 people who managed to block the road near the Halamish settlement, which has stolen land from the village and continues to encroach on village agricultural land. More than 20 people were reportedly injured by rubber-coated steel bullets, including veteran popular resistance leader Ayed “Abu Ahmed” Morrar, from Budrus. The group was also assaulted by settlers from Halamish, who threw stones and fired live ammunition in the direction of the demonstrators, who despite the violence of the settlers and soldiers, managed to block the road for more than 2 hours.

In Al-Ma’asara a large group of Palestinians, along with international and Israeli solidarity activists again marched from the center of the village to the edge of town, where they were stopped by the Israeli military. The military vowed to end the demonstrations in Al-Ma’asara in 2010, which began in early 2007. In recent weeks they have intensified their presence and began using “crowd-dispersal” weapons, which had not been used since the very early days of the demonstrations, when they were held on the site of the Annexation Barrier construction. This week, sound grenades were thrown into the crowd, forcing the demonstrators to move back. They were then pursued into the village a few dozen meters, before the Israeli soldiers finally left.

Over 300 people marched from West Jerusalem to Sheikh Jarrah again this week. On the way through the Jewish sections of the city, they were met with a wide range of response, from honks and cheers, to people aiming imaginary guns at them and shooting. In Sheikh Jarrah the police were more withdrawn, content to blocking off the street rather than the incredible violence and mass arrests that have met the demonstrations in recent weeks.