Bil’in tears down the Wall as protests spread across the West Bank
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Bil’in tears down the Wall as protests spread across the West Bank

Protests were held across the West Bank on Friday, with the biggest taking place in Bil’in where more than 1,000 demonstrators marked 5 years of resistance in the village by tearing down the Wall. Weekly anti-Wall protests were also held in al-Ma’sara and Ni’lin, where soldiers attacked demonstrations with tear gas and rubber bullets. Protests also continued in Nabi Saleh, where villagers have rallied against the Halamish settlement.

The mass of demonstrators dismantled parts of the Wall in Bil’in, marking the 5th year of struggle in the village. Occupation forces were not stationed in their usual places this week, and protestors took advantage of this rare opportunity. Not only did they tear down fencing, but they also succeeded in occupying a military outpost as well. Soon after, Occupation forces sprayed chemical water, tear gas and rubber bullets at the demonstrators, pushing them back.

Throughout the past five years, over 1,200 people have been injured at demonstrations, and one has been killed. Another 85 villagers have been arrested for organizing or merely taking part in the demonstrations.

Only last week the construction work to reroute the Wall began, nearly two and a half years after the High Court of Justice ordered the Wall to be moved. While approximately 30% of land will be returned to the village, organizers have pledged to continue protesting until the Wall is taken down completely.

Nearby in Ni’lin, protestors also marched against the Wall that cuts through their village’s land. Since the protests in Ni’lin have started, protestors succeeded in destroying equipment and cutting the fence on dozens of occasions. When the concrete wall went up, residents pulled it down, forcing Occupation authorities to reinforce it with steel.

In al-Ma’sara, some 100 Palestinians, supported by several dozen Israeli and international activists marched to the Wall. The demonstration took place with the participation of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in commemoration of their 41st anniversary. Men and women of all ages gathered after the Friday prayer and marched through the village toward the road used by settlers. Following speeches from the Popular Committee, Occupation forces began firing tear gas and throwing concussion grenades into the group. The group quickly dispersed and the soldiers chased them into the village, firing tear gas behind them.

Protests also continued in Nabi Saleh, where the Wall and nearby settlement of Halamish threatens to deprive the village of more land and resources. Palestinians from the area were joined by international and Israeli activists. Occupation forces barred them from reaching their lands, firing tear gas and rubber bullets.