Yousef Abu Maria Brutally Beaten as Live Ammunition Used at Beit Ommar Demonstration

20 August 2011

20th August – Residents of Beit Ommar, supported by Israeli and international activists, gathered for a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with Gaza, following the recent Israeli airstrikes there which killed 14 people, including 13 year old Mahmoud Abu Samara.

As the demonstration attempted to march through Beit Ommar fields towards the illegal settlement of Karmei Tsur, the Israeli military responded with extreme violence. Live ammunition was fired at protestors, and concussion grenades were thrown, setting fire to the surrounding grass.

Soldiers arrested a total of five demonstrators, including Yousef Abu Maria, a member of the Beit Ommar popular committee and PSP organising committee. He was thrown to the ground, breaking his arm (photo above) for the third time this year. Soldiers then tried to place Yousef in handcuffs, despite it being clear that he was in agony. Majde Za’aqiq, another member of the popular committee, and organising committee at the Center for Freedom and Justice, was also arrested, alongside two Israelis and one international.

At the time of writing, all five were still in police custody.

This brutal violence is indicitive of a trend being seen across the West Bank and Gaza, as Israeli violence is escalated in the run-up to September’s UN vote on Palestinian statehood.