One Palestinian Youth, Five Solidarity Activists Arrested in Beit Ommar Demonstration

20 November 2010

Beit Ommar, Southern West Bank, 1:30pm: One 14-year-old Palestinian boy named Mohammad Awad, two internationals volunteering with P.S.P., and three Israeli solidarity activists were arrested by Israeli Forces during a peaceful demonstration against Karmei Tsur, an illegal Israeli settlement built on Beit Ommar land.

Beit Ommar and the adjacent Saffa valley have recently witnessed a tide of suppression by Israeli soldiers. Thursday, November 18th, thirteen Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists were arrested accompanying farmers to their land in the Saffa valley, near the illegal Bat Ayn settlement. In the past month, soldiers have raided the village during the night and made arrests three times a week: 35 people were arrested in October, and several have been arrested this month.

The weekly demonstration started just after 1pm as 30 Palestinians, along with many International and Israeli solidarity activists, marched toward the fence surrounding the Karmei Tsur settlement.

Around two dozen Israeli soldiers and border police blocked the path of the demonstrators, who sat on the ground, chanted against the occupation, and made speeches on the injustice of denying Palestinians access to their own land.

After half an hour of peaceful demonstrating, a small group of Palestinian youth moved closer to confront the Israeli soldiers, who responded by firing sound bombs and attempting to arrest a member of the National Committee. As he evaded arrest, a young boy and five other activists were taken in his place.

Activists returned to face the soldiers and stand in solidarity with those arrested. They were then repeatedly shot with tear gas and chased up the road to the village.

Karmei Tsur, an illegal settlement according to international law, is one of five built on land belonging to Beit Ommar villagers. The demonstration is held every Saturday and organized by the National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ommar, and the Palestine Solidarity Project.