Occupation marks the start of Ramadan with tear gas and beatings
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Occupation marks the start of Ramadan with tear gas and beatings

***image2***On Friday, occupation forces targeted hundreds of Palestinians around Bethlehem and Ramallah as they tried to mark the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

The major checkpoints (terminals) leading to Jerusalem from Bethlehem and Ramallah were closed as Palestinians attempted the journey to the al-Aqsa Mosque in the old city of Jerusalem for Friday prayers.

Hundreds queued at the al-Quba terminal north Bethlehem and Qalandiya terminal south Ramallah, where a large number of occupation forces on foot and on horseback blocked their approach. The road to Ramallah was put under effective lock-down, with a number of flying checkpoints conducting random searches bringing traffic to a standstill. A number of worshippers prayed at the checkpoint. When they refused to return to their homes, there was scenes of chaos as occupation forces attacked them sound-bombs and teargas.

The clampdown was in stark contradiction to previous announcement in the media that they in which the occupation authorities claimed that they would ease restrictions in order to facilitate Palestinian access to Jerusalem for prayers at the start of the holy month.

Elsewhere, in al-Walaja, West Bethlehem, dozens were injured when the Occupation forces attacked villagers marching from Mosque to protest about the confiscation of the village lands.

After prayers, the villagers, organised the local Popular Committee against the wall, marched to the edge of the village carrying Palestinian flags and banners. A large number of forces had taken up positions around the site of the destruction, and moved in to prevent the demonstrators from reaching their land. Palestinians started to resist, and there was skirmish as heavily armed occupation forces attacked with sticks, sound bombs, tear gas and rubber bullets. Dozens of Palestinians were injured.

The village’s ancient woodland is being bulldozed in preparation for the construction of the Apartheid Wall. New estimates from the village council, based on the assessment of engineers working with the village’s lawyer, state that Wall’s construction will entail the uprooting and destruction of around 500 dunum of land for its path. The Wall will run for around 6km around the edge of the village and isolate a further 1,980 dunum of land behind it.