Demonstrators Assaulted in Beit Ommar, 2 Arrested

23 July 2011

Demonstrators were assaulted in Beit Ommar today, as Israeli military forces attacked the village’s demonstration against the recent rapid expansion of building work in the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement.

Fifty demonstrators, consisting of local Palestinians, Israelis, and international solidarity activists marched from the village and attempted to protest at the nearby settlement fence. The protest was met by dozens of Israeli soldiers who prevented the Palestinians from marching across their own land. The soldiers proceeded to push numerous demonstrators to the ground. One Israeli had his ID taken by the soldiers and was later arrested, while another Israeli activist was detained. The soldiers then declared the area a Closed Military Zone, and forced the protesters back.

Even as the demonstration began to leave the area, around 40 soldiers continued to harass and assault the protesters. The soldiers present were part of a unit whose conduct in the area of Beit Ommar has recently been the subject of complaints by human rights groups. One such example is a video recently released by B’Tselem which shows a soldier cocking a loaded gun and pointing it to the face of an unarmed Palestinian.

Today’s protest was part of Beit Ommar’s long popular struggle against Israeli occupation. Beit Ommar is a Palestinian town located between Bethlehem and Hebron, whose popular committee was recently involved in organizing a three day conference bringing together popular committees from across the West Bank to plan for the future of the popular resistance.

Watch the B’Tselem video of soldier pointing a loaded gun at an unarmed Palestinian here.

For more information contact:
Bekah Wolf- 054 8838 369 (English)
Youssef Abu Maria- 059 813 9599 (Arabic)