Palestinians, Israelis Arrested Throughout Friday Demonstrations

23 January 2010

(Photography from Palestine Solidarity Project. Video of Nabi Saleh from Activestills Collective, Video of Sheikh Jarrah from Yisrael Putermam)

This Friday, January 22, demonstrations were again held against land confiscation, the Annexation Barrier, and the expulsion of Palestinians from East Jerusalem for the settlement of right-wing Jewish settlers.

In Al-Ma’asara, Bethlehem District, approximately 70 Palestinians, Internationals and Israelis marched from the center of town towards the barrier set up by the Israeli military. Tensions were high as a larger-than-usual presence of Israeli soldiers and border police lined the route of the march on the roofs of buildings. The demonstration included the imposed Palestinian government’s minister of agriculture who participated in a symbolic tree-planting near the entrance of the village. Speeches were made in Arabic and Hebrew and the demonstration left peacefully. Not satisfied with the lack of confrontation, the Israeli soldiers followed demonstrators into the village. One man was followed into a shop where he was arrested by the soldiers as he bought chicken. He was released later in the evening.

In Nabi Saleh, Ramallah District, Israeli soldiers invaded the village before the demonstration officially began, arresting 6 Palestinian residents, 3 men and 3 women. The demonstration was held as planned, protesting the recent attempted confiscation of agricultural land by the nearby Halamish settlement.

In Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, a group of 350 Israelis and Palestinians gathered in a park near the street where several houses have been taken over by a right-wing Jewish settler organization beginning last summer. For the past several weeks, dozens of Jewish Israeli activists have been arrested during the demonstrations, which were beginning with a permitted march from the center of West Jerusalem to the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. This week, the Israeli police refused to issue a permit for the march so organizers decided to begin closer to the occupied street, which, as usual, was cut off by Israeli police. During the demonstration, as participants marched towards the occupied street, Israeli police began arresting participants. 22 people were arrested in all. During the protest, the Israeli police were allowing settlers to gather inside their barricades on the occupied street, where they began attacking Palestinian residents. 2 Palestinians were reportedly hospitalized after assaults by Jewish Israeli settlers. Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah who participated in the demonstration were also arrested after they arrived at their homes. Recent updates from Israeli organizers suggest that at least some of the 22 demonstrators are being charged, and that the Israeli prosecution has requested that 6 be held for the duration of the legal proceedings, a process that is often used against Palestinians during legal procedures but is exceedingly rare against Jewish Israelis.