Heavy-handed Occupation troops sprayed demonstrators with rubber bullets and tear gas in the weekly demonstration at Bilâin village, leaving a young child requiring oxygen and at least one demonstrator needing medical attention for shot wounds. Another protest was held in Irtas, south of Bethlehem.
***image2***On 15th June, over 150 people in Bilâin marched towards the Apartheid wall, as they do every Friday. However upon approaching the wall the demonstrators were told by Occupation forces who had massed there that a new âsecurity areaâ had been designated reaching up to 200m away from the wall, and they were not to progress any further. The demonstrators tried to challenge this new extension of the land theft and a stand-off ensued. As several of the protestors edged forwards the Occupation troops began to fire canisters of tear gas indiscriminately into the crowd. The Zionist army apparently used the moment in which national and international media attention are all focused on the internal Palestinian political crisis to escalate their brutality. Their onslaught continued for over an hour, with the troops forcing the demonstrators, armed only with their determination to defend their land and rights, further back towards the village. During the attack, a young boy suffering severely from the effects of the tear gas had to be carried away by medics and given oxygen.
***image3***The troops then began to fire rubber bullets randomly at the demonstrators. Ahmed Mohammed Hassan, 30, was hit in the side of his abdomen and was taken to hospital after receiving emergency treatment at the scene.
Despite the retreat of the protestors the troops continued to fire the tear gas and followed the people almost as far as their village.
The Apartheid wall surrounding Bilâin has cut the village off from 85% of its land, leaving many villagers struggling to make a living.