Hassan Brijiyeh (37 years), member of the popular committee against the Apartheid Wall and the Settlements, was critically wounded when a tear gas canister hit him directly in the head. He started vomiting and lost the capacity to move one of his hands. As he was transported to the hospital, the Israeli occupation forces arrested Iyad Mohammed Zawahra and Mahmoud Abdel-Zawahra, both 23 years old, and injured more than 12 protesters who were suffering from the dense clouds of tear gas in which the occupation forces had engulfed the villagers.
The Israeli occupation forces staged this violent attack on the demonstrators after they had surrounded them. As on every Friday the protest started in front of the village school where the people gathered to march towards the Wall. This week, people from the village were joined by the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr. Aziz Dweik as well as international supporters. As always, the protesters tried to reach their land which is isolated behind the Wall. Today, the Israeli military had apparently changed their tactics and allowed the demonstrators to move forward on the road leading to the area of the wall. At this point, they besieged the protest march from all sides and began shooting teargas canisters, rubber-coated metal bullets and sound bombs into the crowd.
Eyewitnesses report that the Israeli occupation forces used a new type of teargas. The canisters seem to follow movement until they have hit a target, whether a wall, a barrier or a person. This led to a number of injuries among the protesters, and created chaos and fear. In this situation, the military had an easier task arresting activists.
Protesters counted up to 23 jeeps of the occupation forces stationed in the area. This large amount of military presence is clear evidence that the IOF were planning to raise the level of repression in al Ma’asara to ensure that people in this village, which has inspired the rise of popular struggle all over the Bethlehem district, are intimidated and silenced.