Tear Gas Showered on Beit Ommar Demonstration; 2 Injured

8 August 2010

On a particularly hot Saturday, August 7, Approximately 50 Palestinian, International and Israeli activists marched once again towards the Karmei Tsur settlement. This week’s demonstration was to protest in particular a new order from the District Commander of the Israeli Army that a further 10 dunums of Palestinian agricultural land (2.5 acres) is off-limits to its owners, presumably to be annexed to the settlement. The demonstrators therefore made their way through that land towards the settlement but were met with a large force of Israeli soldiers in the fields well before they reached the perimeter fence. The group, which included women and children, attempted to make their way past the soldiers, but were immediately attacked with tear gas and sound grenades. Once again, journalists, clearly identified, were intentionally targeted, with tear gas shot directly in their midst. One journalist collapsed after not being able to breathe due to the inundation of tear gas. One international activist was also wounded when a sound grenade exploded on her ankle. The use of sound grenades as projectile weapons, aimed to explode on activists and journalists alike, seems to be a tactic used particularly in the south, where it has been seen at demonstrations both in Beit Ommar and Al-Ma’asara.