Ramallah district: anti-Wall protests spread to five villages
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Ramallah district: anti-Wall protests spread to five villages

1) People of Bil’in defy the decision of the Israeli military.

Dozens of demonstrators were injured this Friday in the weekly anti-wall march at Bil’in. A number suffered from respiration problems caused by the use of tear gas when Israeli occupation forces attacked Palestinian demonstrators and international solidarity activists. This is the result of the repression of the first of the weekly marches against the wall and settlement after the Israeli army had declared the area a ‘military zone’.

On Tuesday, the Israeli military had issued an order declaring all lands between the built up area and the Wall in Bil’in and Nil’in a closed military zone on Fridays from 8am until 8pm until August 17. The Popular Committee against the Wall and the Settlements in Bil’in has condemned and defied this order and called for the Palestinian people and international demonstrators to resist this decision through continued participation in the weekly events against the wall and the settlements.
The demonstrators set out on their weekly march after Friday prayers, taking to the streets of the village and chanting slogans. They called for unity and vowed they would steadfast in the face of Israeli occupation and repression. The slogans further targeted the Israeli decision to annex Palestinian holy sites to Israel as part of their cultural heritage. The march called for the release of all prisoners and clearly condemned the issuing of a ‘military zone’ order to the village.

The march soon left the built up area and advanced towards the Wall, where Israeli occupation forces were stationed behind cement blocks on the far side. The gate of the wall was closed with barbed wire. Nevertheless, demonstrators were able to make their way through it and headed for the land behind the wall – land that belongs to the people of Bil’in. They were met by Israel occupation forces firing sound grenades, rubber-coated bullets and tear gas canisters. People demonstrating in their olive groves were targeted, resulting in the injury of dozens suffering from tear gas inhalation.

The call by the popular committee in Bil’in to continue and support their protests has drawn not only the attendance of the people of the village of Bil’in and peace activists. Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, and Hisham Abu Raya, Member of the Political Bureau of the Palestine Liberation Front, participated in the march.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi stated that, “the decision of the Occupation that prohibits Palestinians from the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin to access to their land in the area of the apartheid wall and the declaration of the area surrounding the wall as a closed military zone is illegal. It comes from an illegal occupying force. We will not accept it and we will resist it.” Barghouti further called upon the international community to respond to the
repressive measures of the occupation authorities through sanctions, just as it did during the apartheid era in South African.

Hisham Abu Raya said that it was a momentous day for Bil’in and for the popular resistance. The people have shown that they can and will break the decision of the Occupation to declare the areas of Bil’in and Nil’in closed military zones. He continued: “This is a day in support for Jerusalem and the Islamic and Christian holy sites. A day of resistance against the Judaization of Jerusalem.”

Bil’in was visited the day before yesterday by a delegation from the US consulate, which listened to a detailed explanation from the Popular Committee about the route of the wall and the commencing of works there, as well as the decision to the Israeli occupation forces to declare
Bil’in a closed military zone on Fridays for a period of six months.

2) Ni’lin: More Israeli repression creates stronger popular resistance

***image2***The decision of the occupation forces last week to declare the lands of Ni’lin close to the Wall a ‘military zone’ on Fridays and to prevent them access to the wall and their land, did not deter the people of Ni’lin from their weekly Friday demonstration. After the Friday prayer over one hundred people gathered in the village and marched to the land the occupation forces had confiscated. The demonstrators chanted slogans against the occupation policies and against the repression of the popular resistance in Ni’lin and other places in Palestine.
Knowing of the new military orders, the residents changed the direction of the march in anticipation of any preparations for the occupation forces.

In fact, when the protesters arrived close to the apartheid wall, the Israeli military jeeps and soldiers were stationed unusually close the gate of the wall. Protected by their wall, the military fired tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, which defended themselves hurling stones at the military invading their land. Many suffered from tear gas inhalation.

The demonstrators let the occupation forces know via loudspeakers that the decision of the military to declare the area close to the Wall a military zone will not be respected by the people because this land is not owned by the military but by the people of Ni’lin. The people underlined that by now they are approaching the end of the second year since the weekly protests began and they will defy these orders and continue demonstrating against the apartheid wall.

The occupation forces continued to pound the protestors with tear gas for three hours. Hiding between the olive groves, the army attempted several times to arrest people from the village. Finally the people from Ni’lin decided to return to their homes.

The order to declare the lands of Ni’lin a ‘military closed zone’ is yet a further step in the repressive campaign against the village. Already since weeks, international activists and media are barred from entering the village on Fridays.

3) Nabi Saleh: a village under attack

The Israeli military confronted the weekly protests in Nabi Saleh immediately after residents concluded the Friday prayer. The people from the village and international activists had barely begun walking when soldiers started shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at them. Israeli soldiers then invaded several houses in the village and occupied the roofs of these houses to obtain a better view of the demonstrators.

The attack on the people by the Israeli military resulted in the injury of one villager, who was hit with a rubber bullet to his head, as well as Mahmoud Abdul Hafiz Tamimi, 85 years old, who was shot with a rubber bullet to his right hand while he was inside his house. Another protests from Nabi Saleh was struck by a rubber bullet to his hand. The Israeli military arrested two others: Amjad Abdul Hafiz Tamimi and Omar Saleh Ayyub.

Two international activists were also injured. One of them was shot twice directly in the foot with a rubber bullet. Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli military occupied several newly built houses from which they were launching their attacks. When three international activists approached one of the houses and started talking to the soldiers, asking them to stop shooting at the houses and the people, one of the soldiers shot him directly with a rubber bullet, and continued to shoot at those who came to rescue him.

Eyewitnesses further stated that the Israeli military shot rubber bullets and tear gas directly at houses near the entrance to the village, destroying windows and solar heating panels and damaging other property. Israeli soldiers harassed a man with kidney failure named Abdul Razaaq Tamimi – four of his children were arrested two weeks ago. Soldiers harassed Tamimi by shooting tear gas into his house, causing fire and other damage. Residents of the house, including an 85-year-old family member suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes, who was sleeping in her room when soldiers began firing, were forced to evacuate and in the process suffered tear gas inhalation.

Ali Nemir Tamimi’s house was also fired upon with rubber bullets, causing an injury to Tamimi’s right hand and material damage to his house and car.

Further, Israeli soldiers arrested Jameel Abdul Qadir and Hassan Ahmad already on Thursday. Youth from the village had removed signs that settlers from nearby Halmish settlement put up near a water spring that settlers were trying to take over from its owners. The two were arrested while walking by the area where the incident happened, and were accused of participating in the removal of the signs.

4) Deir Nizam: Two arrested and three others injured

The weekly protest in Deir Nizam have seen once again heavy repression by the occupation forces. Abdul Jawad Taher, 19 years old, and, Khairallah Mahmoud al-Tamimi, 37 years old, have both been arrested in a day were rubber coated bullets and tear gas filled the air.
Today, the demonstrators left after Friday prayers towards the threatened lands. They first had to cross the settler-only bypass road, which runs close to the village and cuts it off from its lands. The occupation forces were stationed along the settler road and began firing stun grenades, rubber coated bullets and tear gas at the demonstrators as soon as they approached the road. The people tried to defend themselves with the only tools they have: the stones of their land. The clashes lasted until the afternoon and three people were all injured by rubber bullets.

The villagers of Deir Nizam and Nabi Saleh are out in protests every Friday since they had been presented with the military order announcing the confiscation of approximately 4000 dunum of their land.

4) Budrus: One arrest, one serious injury and scores choked with tear gas

A large demonstration took place in Budrus village, west of Ramallah. Demonstrators marched towards the Apartheid Wall to protest a recent Israeli military order to confiscate a piece of village land, on which the occupation forces have already built surveillance towers. These military installations are part of the infrastructure to prepare for the construction of the Apartheid Wall in the area. The people also demonstrated against the recent Israeli policies in Jerusalem that further the Judaization of the city and contribute to aggressive settlement growth.

As in other villages across the West Bank, after the Friday prayer the people gathered in a popular protest. In the very moment the Israeli military arrived, they started shooting rubber-coated bullets and tear gas at the demonstrations; this resulted in several injuries, including one person, who was struck in his face and hand by an exploding tear gas canister.

An hour into the demonstration, the Israeli army arrested four Palestinian protestors and one international activist. All except for one were released after pressure from their families and the demonstrators.

The demonstration continued until 7:00 p.m., during which the Israeli military used a large deployment of forces, including 12 military vehicles, to stop the villagers from protesting on their own land. They used rubber-coated bullets and sound bombs and employed a catapult device that is capable of launching more than 60 tear gas bombs at a time in all directions.

The land the Israelis decided to confiscate belongs to farmers and landowners from Nabi Saleh. Landowners and demonstrators plan to continue protesting in the style of earlier Budrus demonstrations, which successfully protested against the confiscation of Budrus lands at the beginning of the construction of the Wall.