Today three protesters were injured and dozens suffered from breathing problems after inhaling tear gas during the clashes in the village of Bil’in. The clashes erupted as the Israeli occupation violently responded to the village’s weekly protest against the Apartheid Wall and settlements.
A delegation of participants in the 17th International Festival of Farkha, composed of youth from the West Bank and Palestine ’48, joined the residents of Bil’in in the demonstration, which was organized by the Popular Committee against Wall and the settlements. Numerous youth from the development association ash-Sharaka, based in Morocco and the West Bank, as well as dozens of international supporters, also participated in the protest.
Before the demonstration, the youth delegation from the Farkha festival has met with the Popular Committee against the Wall and the settlements and listened to a detailed explanation of the experiences of Bil’in’s popular resistance over the past five and a half years. The Popular committee discussed the results of their struggle and the role of international solidarity activism.
Once the protest began, the people raised Palestinian flags and photos of detained grassroots activists. The protesters marched through the streets chanting slogans calling for national unity and the end of the national political divisions – they underlined the need to uphold the Palestinian national principles. They confirmed the need for ongoing resistance against the occupation and demanded the liberation of all the prisoners, in particular the prisoners of the popular resistance. Other slogans condemned the aggression against Jerusalem, the policies of Judaization, deportation and expulsion, and the siege on Gaza.
The demonstration moved toward the Wall, where Israeli occupation forces were hiding behind the Wall’s cement blocks. The army had closed the Wall’s gate with razor wire and a large group of soldiers were also lined up in front of the gate. When the protesters attempted to pass in order to reach the land on the other side of the Wall, which is owned by the people of Bil’in, the Occupation Forces started to launch sound grenades, rubber coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters from all sides as they chased the protesters. This resulted in the injury of Abdel Baset Shreteh (18 years) and Ala’ Abu Sa’a (35 years), who got both hit with tear gas canisters in their hands, and Fawaz Maghari (35 years), injured at the head by a blow with a baton by one of the Israeli soldiers. Dozens of other protestors suffered from breathing problems from tear gas inhalation.