Protestors call for the release of Jamal, Abdallah and Mohammed
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Protestors call for the release of Jamal, Abdallah and Mohammed

Demonstrations against the Wall continued through Christmas in the villages of Ni'lin, al-Ma'sara and Bil'in. Protestors, some of whom were dressed as Santa, called for the immediate release of the anti-Wall prisoners. These demonstrations come on the eve of the Gaza war, where 1,419 Palestinians were killed and at least 5,300 wounded during the 23-day bombardment. During the war, Israeli forces shot and killed Arafat and Mohammed Khawajeh during a Gaza solidarity demonstration in Ni'lin.

In Ni'lin, around one hundred demonstrators marched toward the Wall after prayers, arriving at the military gates where Occupation forces were waiting. Soldiers threatened to fire on the crowd with live ammunition if it did not disperse.

Clashes soon broke out, and several youth scaled the concrete wall and destroyed electronic sensors with stones. Soldiers attempted to detain them, but were forced to retreat when other demonstrators hurled back tear gas canisters.

During the demonstration groups of soldiers hidden among the trees, some in plainclothes and wearing only bullet-proof vests, attempted on several occasions to arrest protestors.

Occupation forces entered into the village during the demonstration, firing live bullets and tear gas canisters at homes. One local photographer was hurt when a tear gas canister struck his knee. Despite the use of live ammunition, the Red Crescent did not report any injuries aside from tear gas inhalation.

The people of al-Ma'sara also marched on Friday in a Christmas themed demonstration, calling for the release of the imprisoned anti-Wall activists Jamal Juma', Abdallah Abu Rahma, and Mohammed Othman. Children, adults and Santa Clauses distributed used tear-gas and stun grenades, and hung them as decorations on the holiday tree.

The tree-carrying procession reached the regular military roadblock, where some of the children decorated the soldiers' barbed wired fence with grenades. Santa Clauses were waving flags, slogans where chanted, and speeches were carried in Arabic, English and Hebrew.

At one point five policemen crossed the fence in a failed attempt at arresting one of the village youth.

A similar demonstration was held in Bil'in, where some demonstrators dressed in Santa costumes and others decorated a tree with spent grenades. Soldiers fired tear gas at the marchers, who called for the release of the anti-Wall prisoners.