This weekâs protests expressed the urge of the people for real national unity and the appraisal of the reconciliation agreement as a first step in the right direction. The protests underlined as well that national reconciliation is not a substitute to popular resistance. On the contrary, it has to be a pillar of support for continued grassroots mobilization against the Wall and the settlements.
Many protestors across the West Bank were injured, including one 8-year old boy.
In Niâlin after Friday prayer the demonstrators marched towards the Apartheid Wall waving Palestinian flags and banners of Fatah and Hamas in a show of support to the signing of the reconciliation agreement. Protestors also invited the political factions to accelerate the implementation of the agreement on the ground.
However, as soon as the demonstrators arrived to the wall, occupation forces started to attack the march and fired tear gas and live bullets towards them. The protestors had to disperse as many were wounded and suffocated by the clouds of tear gas.
The Stop the Wall Campaignâs coordinator in Ramallah district Ahed Khawaja praised the reconciliation agreement and described it as a pillar of support to the steadfastness of those who go out in the field every week to protest against the occupation, settlements and the Apartheid Wall.
In Bilâin a child was injured and dozens suffered severe asphyxia as a result of tear gas inhalation during the clashes that took place in the village as the occupation forces attacked the weekly demonstration against the wall and the settlements and in support of Palestinian reconciliation. The demonstrators marched from the village to the Wall calling for unity and confirmed the need for continued Palestinian resistance to the occupation, the release of all prisoners and national liberation.
Behind the Wall the Israeli occupation forces had erected a human barrier of soldiers near the Wallâs gate to prevent the demonstrators from crossing to the isolated land. A large number of soldiers were deployed along the route of the Wall, and a truck sprayed protesters with skunk water. When protesters tried to cross towards the Wall, the occupation forces fired stun grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas from all directions. This resulted in the injury of the 8 years-old Mohammed Iyad Bernat by a tear gas grenade fired at his back.
The Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Apartheid Wall and the Settlements welcomed the agreement between Fatah and Hamas and hoped that it would be the key to a comprehensive national dialogue that will end the division and restore Palestinian national unity so as to enable them to confront the occupation policies more effectively.
In Nabi Saleh Israeli occupation forces arrested three internationals and wounded five children and a youth. An entire family suffered from tear gas inhalation after the military had targeted their home.
Already in the morning hours, Israeli occupation forces closed the only three entrances to the village and prevented Palestinians, activists and journalists from entering or leaving the village and blocked the work of medical staff.
As soon as the demonstration started, the occupation forces suppressed it at the entrance to the village and attacked the protestors with tear gas grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets. Five children and a young Palestinian man were wounded by the tear gas canisters that the soldiers fired directly at them. In addition, dozens of inhabitants of Nabi Saleh were suffering from the tear gas clouds. The entire family of Dalal Al-Tamimi felt ill as a result of the tear gas grenades the military had fired into their home.
All these attacks did not prevent the demonstrators to rearrange their ranks and set out again in three marches from three different places so as to confuse the occupation forces, which in turn increased the repression and used automatic skunk water spraying equipment which flooded the village and drenched the demonstrators. In the process, Israeli occupation forces arrested three internationals, beat them severely and took them to an unknown destination.
As well in al Maâsara the protesters took advantage of the march to express their support for an end of the Palestinian political divisions. The march headed towards the wall, where the military closed the entrance to the village and prevented the demonstrators from reaching their lands threatened with confiscation. When the protestors tried to cross to the lands behind the Wall the military forcibly dispersed the demonstrators and pursued the protesters until inside the village.
As the demonstrators arrived at the main street that leads to the fields behind the Wall, the occupation forces started to attack the people again and arrested Hassan Brijiye.