Weekly Anti-Wall Protest Update
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Weekly Anti-Wall Protest Update

The weekly protests were much bigger than usual because of several coinciding anniversaries, particularly International Human Rights Day, the 23rd anniversary of the beginning of the First Intifada and the anniversary of the formation of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

In the village of Al-Massara, the protest began outside the Zawahreh school and villagers marched to the Apartheid Wall, together with international activists especially activists from South Africa. When the protestors reached the entrance of the village the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) blocked their movement and started shooting tear gas, sound bombs and stun grenades at the crowd. An international activist named “Show” from South Africa was hit in the head by a stun bomb canister. Also, numerous people suffered severe tear gas inhalation and several fell unconscious.

Stop the Wall Popular Committee coordinator Mazen Al-Azza stated that the Israeli violence in response to the popular resistance shows the true face of the occupation. He called on the international community to take action to stop the Occupation and Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.

In the protests in the village of Bil’in one protestor was injured, one German national was arrested and dozens of people suffered severe tear gas inhalation, including three journalists. The protest in Bil’in also marked the 1st anniversary of the imprisonment of Abdullah Abo Rahma, the coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in. In support of recognition by Brazil and Argentina, of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, the protestors waved the flags of these countries.

March headed towards the wall where the IOF confronted the protest by erecting roadblocks and firing tear gas, sound bombs, rubber bullets and rubber-coated metal bullets. Mohammed Shawkat Al-Khateeb (17 years old) suffered an injury to his leg when a tear gas bomb hit him in his leg. Also, Najib Cherauna (Palestinian TV cameraman and photographer), Moheeb Barghouti (reporter) and Tal (Australian television reporter) suffered sever tear gas inhalation, as did dozens of other people.

In the village of Nabi Saleh, dozens of people suffered severe tear gas inhalation both at the protest and inside the houses. The IOF also used the prohibited and lethal tear gas grenades on the demonstrators.

Despite the bad weather and the large numbers of IOF which surrounded the village and closed off its entrances, the people of Nabi Saleh and surrounding villages were, for the first time in months, able to march to their stolen agricultural lands. They were joined in this action by several international activists. The protest also marked the 17th anniversary of the arrest of Nazar, Saeed and Ahmed al-Tamimi and the death of their mother, martyr Umm Nizar Tamimi.

The IOF attacked the protestors with tear gas, sound bombs, stun grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets. The IOF also attacked several houses with tear gas as a form of collective punishment. One house owned by Abu Hussam Tamimi and his family had its windows broken by tear gas canisters fired at the house. The house also caught on fire and partially burned as a result of this. Two women in the house and one child under 3 years old suffered severe tear gas inhalation. One international activist was kicked and beaten by the IOF soldiers, who then arrested him and took him to an unknown place. Also, according to eyewitnesses, one Israeli soldier was wounded when a stone hit him in the head. Lastly, also according to eyewitnesses, an Israeli officer said to his soldiers that he wanted to see Nabi Saleh burn down, and ordered his soldiers to attack the houses, smashed the windows and make everyone cry.

With the intensification of fighting, the IOF declared Nabi Saleh a closed military zone, initiated a curfew and asked the journalists and international peace activists to leave the village or repressive measures will be taken against them.

It was also reported that in the protests in Beit Ummar, near al-Khalil (Hebron), an American national was arrested, while several Palestinians and international peace activists were injured. Dozens more were affected by severe tear gas inhalation after Israeli troops fired tear gas and stun grenades at the crowd.