Four Arrested, Demonstration Savagely Attacked on Yom Kippur
For the first demonstration since the Ramadan break, a large group of Palestinians, joined by a dozen international activists, marched again towards Karmei Tsur settlement, built on Beit Ommar land in the 1980′s. This week, the demonstration carried a more somber tone, as the participants were including a call for the 17 year-old son of Popular Committee member Ahmed Abu Maria, to be released from prison. He is being held pending trial and has a serious medical condition for which he was hospitalized this week. A few participants carried signs in several languages stating “I am Yousef Abu Maria”.
Long before the demonstrators could make their demands clear, and indeed before they reached the fence cutting them off from their farmland, Israeli soldiers descended on the group and almost immediately began attacking the participants and arresting them. One Palestinian organizer, Younes Arrar, was viciously arrested, dragged away in a choke-hold and held for over 20 minutes with his arm wrenched behind his back. An international solidarity activist from Ireland was thrown to the ground, his head slammed down, as a soldier shouted at him in English “are you scared yet?”
Still, the demonstrators were persistent and the demonstration lasted for nearly two hours as Israeli soldiers fired tear gas directly at participants, in violation of their own laws; rubber-coated steel bullets and percussion grenades were also shot directly at participants. A Palestinian teen and an international woman were both hit with tear gas canisters in their torsos fired from close distance.
In the end, two international solidarity activists, one from PSP and one from ISM were arrested, though the PSP activist was released on the scene. Three Palestinians, including an AP photographer, were also arrested. All three were released later the same evening from the police station.
The demonstration occured on the holiest Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when Jews are supposed to list the sins they have committed that year and ask those whom they have sinned against for forgiveness. Beit Ommar residents are waiting…