Two Arrested, Pepper Spray Used As Activists Try to Tear Down Fence In Beit Ommar

10 September 2011

Today, twenty-five Palestinian, international, and Israeli activists peacefully marched towards an Israeli Apartheid fence built on Palestinian land in the village of Beit Ommar. When they reached the fence, several activists attempted to pull the fence down as an act of symbolism against the occupation and apartheid system in Palestine, while others peacefully demonstrated on the other side of the fence on Route 60. After ten minutes of trying to bring down the fence and protesting, several Israeli military jeeps arrived and the activists stopped pulling on the fence, and joined the others on the other side of the fence on the road.

Soon, many more Israeli soldiers came from behind the demonstrators. The soldiers told the demonstrators to leave and in response, the demonstrators sat down on the side of the road. The soldiers then attempted to arrest a Palestinian activist, but were prevented from doing so because several international activists jumped on the Palestinian activist, putting themselves between him and the soldiers. The soldiers began dragging demonstrators off the Palestinian activist and then shot highly potent, military pepper spray in the faces of the protesters.

Most of the demonstrators were able to get away, but two international activists were arrested. An ambulance needed to be called to tend to the two international activists because of pepper spray exposure and inhalation. The two international activists are still in detention.

After the demonstrators dispersed, Israeli soldiers were seen on the main road inside Beit Ommar.

The demonstration held today was in a different location from where the weekly protests usually occur outside of the Israeli Karmei Tsur settlement. The Beit Ommar Committee Against the Wall and Settlements chose to protest on Route 60 in response to last week’s Israeli military demolition of Palestinian farmers’ fruit stands on Route 60.