Occupying forces attacked the afternoon protesters as they held their weekly march in Bil’in. Troops fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets, and launched stun grenades and sound bombs, as well as employing two new types of weapons. One of these produces thick smoke clouds while the other sprays shrapnel in all directions as it explodes.
***image253***As a result of the Israeli militaryâs barrage of attacks from these many weapons, dozens of protestors suffered moderate to serious injuries. Imad Rizqa, 43, from Yafa was shot in the head by one of the tear gas canisters and had to be rushed to hospital with a fractured skull and brain haemorrhaging. An Italian activist was hit in the hand; photographers Abbas Momani, 34, and Haitham Khatib, 34, were hit in the leg; Um Samara, 48, was hit in the back; and Majd, 22, and Dawr, 27, were both hit in their legs. The former Vice-President of the European Parliament, Louisa Morgantini, and dozens of others suffered breathing problems as a result of the clouds of tear gas. The occupation forces arrested journalist Muhib Barghouti, and detained four international solidarity activists.
The Israeli occupation forces attacked the march as it arrived at the apartheid wall and protestors tried to make their way across it to the lands isolated by the Wall. The march organized by the popular committee in Bilâin, was supported by the presence of many international activists, and Palestinian and international personalities, such as Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, member of the Legislative Council; Mr. Hisham Abu Raya, member of the Political Bureau of the Palestine Liberation Front; Luisa Morgantini, former Vice-President of the European Parliament; Marc Otte, EU special representative for the Middle East peace process; and EU observer Thierry Vallat.
The march marked the culmination of events at the Fifth International Conference on Popular Resistance of Bil’in. The Conference was inaugurated last Wednesday and saw a strong national and international participation, including Robert Serry, UN special envoy for the peace process; more than 20 international and Arab diplomats; members of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, members of the Legislative Council, PNA ministers, and representatives of the Palestinian parties; as well as delegations of activists from France, Italy and Spain, Germany, Ireland, Britain, Canada, Greece, Switzerland and the United States of America, Canada and the Netherlands.