4 Detained as Beit Ommar Demonstrates on Route 60 Again

13 March 2010

For the second week in a row the National Committee of Beit Ommar organized a demonstration, along with the Palestine Solidarity Project, to block Route 60, a major north-south highway past Beit Ommar that is used by settlers from throughout the Hebron District, in protest of the crackdown on Palestinian popular resistance, unabated settlement expansion (including new homes planned in the nearby settlement of Beitar Illit) and the continued theft of Palestinian land.

50 participants, including Israeli and International solidarity activists, arrived at the entrance to Beit Ommar, carrying Palestinian flags and posters calling for the end to the Occupation. Upon reaching route 60 and sitting the road for less than 5 minutes, they were met with over 100 Israeli occupation soldiers, in more than 25 jeeps, who immediately attacked the demonstrators and the awaiting media, shooting copious amounts of tear gas and sound grenades.

The military also immediately began trying to force the media out of the area, breaking several cameras as they beat photographers. They detained 3 journalists and Yousef Abu Maria, coordinator of the National Committee of Beit Ommar. 2 Israeli solidarity activists were also detained, all were released by the end of the day.

At last week’s demonstration the commander announced that if demonstrations on route 60 continued, he would put the entire town of 17,000 under curfew. The same commander later led a raid of the home of PSP coordinators Mousa Abu Maria and Bekah Wolf, and the office for PSP and the Center for Freedom and Justice, taking a computer and scanner/printer.

After today’s demonstration, the Israeli military invaded the village, taking over the roofs of several homes for sniper positions and shooting at youth throwing stones.