Al Ma’asara Commemorates Yom Kippur War, Met With Tear Gas

17 September 2010

A crowd of about 30 Palestinian, international, and Israeli activists gathered at 1 o’clock in Al Ma’asara to protest against the settlements and the construction of the Annexation-Barrier. It was the first day of Yom Kippur, so a more tense atmosphere was expected. Demonstrators chanted against the settlements and the occupation, and gave speeches commemorating the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Yom Kippur, the Jewish “Day of Atonement,” is the holiest day in Judaism. Jews are required to refrain from doing any form of work, including driving a car or even flipping a light switch. The irony of this day is that while Israelis aren’t allowed to work or even drive on the roads the military is allowed to assault unarmed civilians and even wage wars. Every year the army closes its checkpoints during the holiday and many Orthodox Jews assault cars as they drive.

Nevertheless the Israeli Army immediately showed up with 3 jeeps and 10 soldiers. Shortly after the demonstration began Israeli soldiers showed a paper to the crowd informing them that this was a closed military zone. They showed it for 10 seconds, so nobody could see what was written on the paper. The soldiers immediately started throwing tear gas and sound grenades into the crowd, firing a large volume in quick succession. The demonstration continued for about 20 minutes despite the Israeli military’s aggressively disproportionate respond. Nobody was hurt or arrested, and the demonstrations will continue, despite Israeli repression.