Beit Ommar Demonstrators Met with Sound Bombs, Tear Gas

1 January 2011

On Saturday, January 1st, 40 Palestinian villagers from Beit Ommar supported by several international solidarity activists, held their weekly demonstration against the nearby Israeli settlement of Karmei Tsur. As usual, Israeli Forces attempted to disperse the protesters using tear gas and sound bombs. Mousa Abu Maria, a member of the National Committee and the Palestine Solidarity Project, was injured after a sound bomb exploded on his leg, causing a bleeding gash.

At around 1pm as the activists were gathering, approximately ten soldiers occupied a Palestinian residence on the southern edge of the village, forcing the family to stay in one room while the soldiers took up position in front of the windows. The demonstrators found themselves with Israeli Forces on both sides, with soldiers in front who had come to block the villagers from reaching the settlement, and soldiers behind inside the occupied house. The soldiers declared the area a closed military zone, and then started shooting tear gas and throwing sound bombs in an attempt to disperse the demonstration.

After some time, the demonstration ended without any arrests or anyone seriously injured. However, the day before a female demonstrator, Jawaheer Abu Rahmah, 36, was rushed to the ICU unit of a Ramallah hospital after inhaling large amounts of tear gas fired by Israeli Forces at the weekly demonstration in the village of Bil’in. Jawaheer died the next day on January 1st after failing to recover from her injuries. Her brother, Bassem Abu Rahmah, was also murdered by Israeli Forces in 2009 after being shot with a high velocity tear gas canister during an unarmed demonstration in Bil’in.