Popular Committee Member Arrested at Beit Ommar Demonstration
On Saturday, June 9th, 2012, protesters from Beit Ommar – alongside Israeli and international activists – held a demonstration against the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement, built on stolen Beit Ommar land.
Over 50 Israeli soldiers attempted to stop the demonstration from reaching Palestinian land near the settlement, declaring the area a ‘closed military zone’. Around 30 protesters were met with excessive violence, with one member of the Popular Committee being forced to the ground and repeatedly kicked. Two arrests were made: Yousef Abu Maria (age 38), the spokesperson of the Beit Ommar Popular Committee, and an Israeli activist. Both were taken to a police station in the Kiryat Arba settlement, but released later that day, with a 1000 shekel bail charge for Yousef Abu Maria.
Israeli Occupation forces continually prevent residents of Beit Ommar from accessing and cultivating their own land. Additionally, the expansion of the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement has resulted in increasing water scarcity for the local Palestinian community.
The protesters also stand in solidarity with political prisoner and national footballer Mahmoud Sarsak, who is currently on his 82nd day of hunger strike.