As has been the case throughout the West Bank, the village of Niâlin has been subjected to increasing violence in recent weeks, as Occupation forces have used extreme measures to deny the villagersâ basic rights during the olive harvest.
***image2***On Friday October 24 2008, farmers from Niâlin were attacked by Occupation forces and prevented from reaching their olive groves, which are being isolated by the Wall. As the construction of the Wall continues, bulldozers and Occupation forces encroach further and further onto village land, rendering it increasingly difficult for the farmers to reach any of their farmland. On Friday, the forces even went to Niâlinâs main street, and began to shoot tear gas at farmers who were preparing to pray on their land. For no apparent reason, shops, markets, and even homes were also targeted by the forces shooting tear gas.
In spite of the fact that many people suffered difficulty breathing as a result of the tear gas, the villagers of Niâlin still tried to reach their lands and to resist the Occupationâs oppression. Indeed, the violence that they faced only made them more determined to continue their struggle against collective punishment.
Many international and Israeli peace activists joined the villagers in solidarity for their struggle, and as the demonstrators neared the bulldozers and Occupation forces, the latter began shooting at them with rubber bullets and more tear gas. The attacks forced the protestors back towards the village, but the soldiers came in pursuit, and once again fired tear gas at homes and shops. Even Niâlinâs medical centre was subject to tear gas attacks, and as medical teams rushed to help those with breathing problems from the gas, two people were wounded by rubber bullets.