Friday protests in solidarity with Silwan
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Friday protests in solidarity with Silwan

In spite of Friday’s stormy weather, villagers in Jayyous, Ni’lin and Bil’in held their weekly demonstration against the Wall. Several people were wounded, and one student in Jayyous was arrested. A mass demonstration also took place in Jerusalem to protest the home demolitions that will displace 1,500 from Silwan.

In Jayyous, the demonstration began after the midday prayer, with villagers marching from the centre of the village to the south gate in the face of heavy wind and rain. However, no soldiers were stationed at the gate, and several youth began tearing parts of it down. The military arrived soon after, leading to clashes near the gate.

Following the initial clashes, Occupation forces invaded the village. Groups of soldiers occupied three houses, taking control of strategic vantage points in the village and preventing families from leaving. Jeeps patrolled the streets, enforcing a complete curfew until six in the evening. Although there were no injuries reported, Maher Mohammad Fuze, a 20-year-old university student from Jayyous, was arrested during the invasion and taken to the military camp at Huwwara. 14 other young men from the village, who were abducted during the past week, are still being held prisoner there.

In Ni’lin, the Friday protest was held in solidarity with the threatened community in Silwan. Participants also called for the unification of the Palestinian political forces. Some 400 demonstrators gathered to pray on their land before heading toward the Wall, where soldiers fired upon the crowd. Four were wounded by rubber bullets, and dozens more suffered from tear gas inhalation. While soldiers were prevented from entering the village, they did fire tear gas into ten separate homes.

The Friday protest at Bi’lin was also dedicated to the residents of Silwan and Palestinian unity. As usual, soldiers prevented the people from reaching the gate, showering tear gas on the crowd.

In Silwan, masses gathered to condemn of recent plans of the Occupation municipality to demolish 88 homes, home to some 1,500 people, to make way for the creation of a park. This move is a revival of a 2005 plan that was temporarily suspended following protest and international pressure; its revival marks another step in the ongoing Judiazation of Jerusalem.