Beit Ommar Activist Arrested at Weekly Demonstration

17 June 2012

On 16th June 2012 Beit Ommar residents and international activists joined the weekly demonstration against the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement, a settlement which was built on stolen Palestinian land. The demonstration occurred in solidarity with the Palestinian footballer, Mahmoud Sarsak, who is now on an unprecedented 90th day of his hunger strike. Sarsak is protesting the use of administrative detention by the Israeli state under its 2002 “Unlawful Combatants Law”, under which Palestinians can be imprisoned indefinitely without formal charge or trial.

Activists made their way towards the settlement but were blocked by soldiers while still on Palestinian land. The protestors, wearing blindfolds and cloth handcuffs, attempted to play football in front of the soldier in support of Mahmoud Sarsak’s struggle against the illegal imprisonment and the routine abuse of Palestinians’ human rights by the Israeli state. The soldiers confiscated the football, however, and subsequently began kicking and hitting the activists with shields in order to force them to leave the Palestinian land near the settlement. Beit Ommar resident and activist Sagar Abu Maria (42 years old) was injured by the soldiers as he peacefully protested. He sat on the ground in an attempt to show his injuries to the soldiers, but while sitting soldiers grabbed his ankles and dragged him along the ground before arresting him. International activists attempted to prevent soldiers from arresting Sagar, but were met with further violence from the soldiers and were unsuccessful in their efforts. Soldiers, after further abusing Sagar, led him away bleeding to the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement. He is currently being detained by the Israeli military.

The Israeli Occupation Forces, through their use of violence and imprisonment, routinely prevent Beit Ommar residents from reaching and cultivating their own land near the illegal settlements. This is yet another example of continued efforts by the IOF to suppress the popular resistance in Beit Ommar.