Stop the Wall repression report: Dec 13 – Dec 27
These reports, previously released weekly, will now be released twice a month. Within each report, we will provide a brief analysis of the trends in repression occurring in the villages as well as providing statistics about injuries and arrests. We will also provide testimony from Palestinians affected during these demonstrations.
Part I: Testimony
Exerts from the testimony of Rafat Sa’id al ‘Aish (24), injured by a tear gas canister on December 17, 2010 at a demonstration in al Nabi Saleh. Read the complete story here.
“I was with a group of demonstrators close to Martyrs’ Square where three soldiers were raining tear gas on us. […] We had seen them aim the rubber and metal coated rubber bullets toward us with scopes. The confrontations renewed in that moment, and lots of the gas bombs that they fired at as landed unexploded […] Some of the demonstrators were activating them and throwing them back at the Occupation forces, chocking them and forcing them to flee from their position.
“After that we got up and went toward the place where the soldiers were concentrated thinking that they had fled. Except that they were now concentrated behind a wall close to us, about 12 meters. There they aimed at us and the last I heard was one of the youth say “go back, go back”.
“After that I got up; I was laying on the ground in a house with lots of people and there was lots of shouting, and faces came and looked at me and went. I asked “what’s the matter?” and they told me “nothing, don’t move.” I raised my hand by chance and found it was covered with blood and I realized I was wounded. Then I heard people around me asking for the medics, and I asked them not to take me to the hospital and not to call the medics […] I was afraid that they would arrest me, especially because I am a released prisoner. The Occupation usually arrests youth from ambulances, so I asked them not move me that way.
“I was losing consciousness and waking up, but what I expected happened, and Occupation forces stopped us at the military checkpoint that they had set up at the entrance of al Nabi Saleh. The soldiers tried to enter the ambulance, and I remember that I heard knocking and banging on the doors. Except that there were medics and international solidarity activists that were not letting them arrest me.
“At the second checkpoint, which was not farther than 100 meters from the first, Occupation forces stopped the ambulance again. One soldier raised his weapon at the driver of the ambulance and forced him to get out. Another soldier had opened the ambulance and tried to arrest me, except that international activists fought with him, and the medics demanded his military ID in order to lodge a complaint against him. After that the soldier retreated and another came and took a picture of me and my injury and allowed the ambulance to pass.
When asked if he expected to be arrested, he replied:
“It has become the fashion for the Occupation forces to arrest the injured from their homes days after they are wounded. They have arrested Jamal al Rimawai from his home after his injury in the al Nabi Saleh demonstration. They also arrested another youth from Qarawa after he was injured as well.”
Part II: Analysis
Over the past several weeks, Occupation forces have injured nine people with rubber bullets, sound bombs, or tear gas canisters during demonstrations against the Wall and settlements in Ni’lin, Bil’in, al Nabi Saleh and al Ma’sara. Two of these attacks, both of which occurred in al Nabi Saleh, have resulted in serious injuries.
On December 17, a soldier shot Rafat Talat Sa’id from behind with a tear gas canister during the Friday protest in Nabi Saleh, hitting him in the head and knocking him unconscious. The next week soldiers in shot Mustafa Tamimi, presumably from relatively close range, 13 times with rubber bullets, sending him to the hospital.
These injuries illustrate an ongoing trend in Occupation forces’ use of “crowd control” weapons to cause serious injury to demonstrators. Shooting a protestor 13 times goes far beyond what would be considered necessary to disperse a demonstration. Furthermore, the fact that injuries from projectiles continue to reoccur, sometimes resulting in very serious injury, illustrate that these weapons are being used not to disperse crowds but to cause injury and punish demonstrators. While the use of live ammunition causes an uproar and attracts unwanted attention, soldiers are able to so-called “non-lethal” weapons without causing a stir, but still inflicting serious injury on protestors.
Another worrying trend, mentioned by Rafat in his testimony, is the arrest of wounded demonstrators in their homes. It is very unlikely that this practice is only carried out in al Nabi Saleh, and most likely occurs in other villages as well.
Part III: Statistics
Serious injuries: 2
Arrests of HRDs and Minors
1. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Shereen al Araj, Abdulrahman Abu Tin, Abdulrahman Hajajla, Ahmad Hajajla, Wadiya' ad Din, Hasan Hajajala, Mustafa ad Darras, Ibrahim Mohammed ad Darras
Place: al Walaja (Bethlehem district)
Date of arrests: December 22 2010
Circumstances: In the morning, residents of the village of al Walaja blocked Occupation bulldozers clearing a path for the Wall. In response, soldiers attacked the protestors and arrested the eight, among them youth and members of the popular committee. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Shereen al Arj and Abdulrahman Abu Tin, all activists with the popular resistance. However, Abdulrahman Hajajla, Ahmad Hajajla, Wadiya’ ad Din, Hasan Hajajala as well as brothers Mustafa Mohamed ad Darras and Ibrahim Mohammed ad Darras (16 years of age) were detained. They were being held at a Border Police compound in Atarot settlement.
2. Baha' Jelal Ibrahim Shahada (24)
Place: al Nabi Saleh (Ramallah district)
Date of arrests: December 22
Circumstances: Belal was waiting with several friends at the entrance to the village to travel to Ramallah. An unmarked white car passed by them several times before men got, pulled out weapons and demanded Baha's ID before identifying themselves as Occupation policemen. A patrol came later and took him to the Benyamin military base for interrogation, and then to Ofer prison.
3. The nine names are unknown.
Place: Qalandiya checkpoint
Date of arrests: December 25
Circumstances: Occupation forces arrested 9 international activists during a demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint. They were released Sunday morning and given several days to leave the country.
Violence against HRDs and Minors
1. Rafat Talat Sa'id (24)
Place: al Nabi Saleh
Date of injury: 17 December
Circumstances: Shot in the back of the head with a tear gas canister and hospitalized in Ramllah.
2. Mustafa Tamimi (18)
Place: al Nabi Saleh
Date of injury: 24 December
Circumstances: Soldiers shot Mustafa 13 times, 11 in the chest and 2 in the neck, with rubber bullets. He was hospitalized in Ramallah.
3. In addition to the two serious cases mentioned above, 2 more people were injured lightly in Bil'in, 1 in al Ma'sara, and 4 in al Nabi Saleh with either sound/gas projectiles or rubber bullets.