PSP Activists Join Demonstration In Nabi Saleh
The residents of Nabi Saleh – a town of 550 residents, located 20 kilometers north-west of Ramallah – host demonstrations every Friday to protest against the theft of their land by the Halamish settlement, a religious settlement which began stealing land in 1978. A Peace Now report stated in 2006 that one third of the settlement is built on private Palestinian land.
In 2009, in response to the theft of yet more land, the village began holding weekly demonstrations, which have become notorious for the levels of violence and repression exerted against the town by the Israeli Occupation Forces, who regularly invade the town, firing large amounts of teargas into houses.
On the 9th December 2011, Mustafa Tamimi was killed after being shot by a tear gas canister fired directly at him, by soldiers standing only metres away.
Many of Nabi Saleh’s demonstrations are directed towards the Ein al-Qaws spring, which was stolen from Bashir Tamimi in 2009. Since the theft of these springs, Israeli soldiers continually prevent Palestinians from collecting water there, and those that do make it to the spring are regularly attacked by settlers.
During one invasion last year, soldiers entered the village at night, taking the name and picture of every child older than ten years old.
12 houses in Nabi Saleh have demolition orders. They are all built before 1967, but in areas defined as area C according to the Oslo Agreement.
The demonstrators gathered at the highest point in the village, close to the mosque, with appeals for the release of prisoners and the return of stolen land. A total of 70-80 people, among them 20 internationals, then started walking down the main street, turning left at the junction at the village entrance.
Soldiers were lined up in the street next to a tank truck filled with so-called skunk water. When the demonstrators reached within 50 meters from the soldiers, the truck started driving towards us, releasing the extremely foul-smelling water.
After a short time, Israeli soldiers began firing tear gas, both at the demonstrators, and into residential areas of the town.
The angle of the gas canister eventually decreased, as they soldiers started firing straight at the demonstrators. One canister was shot towards a groups of Israeli activists who where just sitting on the side walk. Rubber-coated bullets were also fired. Two of us had moved up on a roof, and could hear a soldier receiving the order ‘to shoot to hit’.
A man from Australia was hit in the leg by a bullet ricochet off the ground, while a French photographer received treatment in the ambulance. Close to all the demonstrators inhaled tear gas.