2 Arrested, Several Injured in Beit Ommar Demonstration

19 June 2011

On Saturday, 18th June 2011, around 50 Palestinian, Israeli, and international demonstrators staged a protest at the Israeli Karmei Tsur settlement. The purpose of the demonstration was to highlight the confiscation and restriction of access to land owned by Palestinian farmers in the village of Beit Ommar. The main contingent of the demonstration was stopped by the Israeli military, preventing access to the Palestinian farmland. A few demonstrators who approached separately were able to place several Palestinian flags atop the fence surrounding the settlement. These demonstrators were detained and escorted back to the area where the rest had been stopped by the military.

The demonstrations sang and chanted peacefully before heading back towards Beit Ommar. When the demonstrators deviated from the path the began to violently push and shove the demonstrators. A Palestinian man was pushed down the hill and several other demonstrators were knocked down. The soldiers kicked some demonstrators, and at least one woman was hit in the face and knocked over. A flag was confiscated from one Palestinian woman by the military.

After 15 minutes of persistence by the woman and other protesters the military relinquished the flag back to the woman. One Israeli and one international activist were handcuffed and taken to the back of an Israeli military vehicle. They were driven 15 minutes outside of town and released on the side Route 60. The rest of the demonstrators returned to Beit Ommar. The Israeli military subsequently took up positions at the entrance to Beit Ommar along Route 60.