Throughout the course of the anti-Wall movement, Occupation forces have used and developed a variety of “crowd control” or “non-lethal” weapons, which they claim are used to contain demonstrations without causing significant injury to individuals. Such a claim could not be further from the truth, and in 2009 Stop the Wall and Adameer released a detailed report explaining how both lethal and non-lethal weaponry are used in collective punishment, punitive attacks and with the intent of causing serious, lasting injury to individuals in the villages of Jayyus, Ni'lin, Bil'in and al Ma'sara.

In al Nabi Saleh, we spoke with several activists as well as youth who have been seriously injured by either tear-gas rounds or rubber bullets, confirming that the same repressive tactics are still employed by Occupation forces.

Eyas Tamimi, 24, was hit in the leg by a high velocity tear gas canister on January 7, 2011. He explained:

"I was here in the village, and they started to fire the high velocity tear gas rounds. You’re not supposed to fire them directly (at people), but they started to fire them directly. It hit my leg, here, and broke it. I was with everyone when I was injured. Basically, they are intending to hit us. If there is a march, or there isn’t a march, they shoot us."

Majd Tamimi, 18, suffered a nearly identical injury:

"I was going down from my uncle’s house to the street. A (tear gas) bomb came into my neighbor’s house, and she lost consciousness and passed out. The medics came, and I went down with them. When I was heading down with them, I was hit with a gas bomb that they fired from up on the hill, about 200 meters away, and it hit my leg."

Both young men are on crutches. Such injuries have serious consequences which can linger for months. Majd, who was shot on November 19, 2010:

"I was injured three months ago. In those months I was not able to walk. Two weeks ago I started walking on crutches, but only a little. After a month I should be able to get back. I had to bring a doctor’s report to my university, and we’ll see what happens."

Other young men in the village have suffered similar injuries. Exactly the same trend manifested itself in Ni’lin, Bil’in and Jayyus, when live rounds and tear gas canisters were employed by Occupation forces, not to control demonstrations (an act which would still not be acceptable), but to seriously injure youth and thus deter mobilization in the village. According to Majd:

"I was far from any confrontations. But they always shoot people, they don’t even take into account women and children. They don’t (only) shoot those who throw stones."

Tear gas canisters are not the only weapon used to seriously injure residents. Uday Tamimi (18), was shot with 12 rubber bullets during a Friday demonstration on December 24, 2010. Three jeeps were coming from the nearby village of Beit Reema, said Uday, when,

"[soldiers] in the third (jeep) shot me, with all 15 gul (small metal balls coated with rubber; fired in volleys), hitting me with 12. I was alone, about 15 meters from the army. After that I passed out and I woke up in the hospital in Ramallah. I remained in the hospital for two days. They took an X-ray of my chest, and said there were no problems."

In addition to attacking individuals, Occupation forces have consistently targeted entire villages, often using tear gas, with the aim of undermining support for the demonstrations. In al Nabi Saleh, Eyas noted that,

"They [soldiers] intentionally shoot the houses with tear gas, in order to terrify the people who are inside the homes. Most of their attacks on the houses are intentional […]

"If there isn’t a march, they enter and provoke the people. Outside of the days of the march. They practice all forms of violence, and enter the village at night and during the day, they are always invading, like what happens in Ni’lin and Bil’in.

Majd also touched on this while discussing the circumstances of his injury:

"The demonstration was happening (near the confiscated land, outside the built-up area of the village) and they started shooting at the village. Not at the demonstration, at the village, and one (tear gas round) entered the house. They do this every week."

One activist from al Nabi Saleh explained that targeting entire homes with tear gas was a way for Occupation forces to divide the village against the demonstrations. A similar trend was seen in Jayyus and Ni’lin, when some the homes of families with young children or elderly members were tear gassed in the hopes that they would turn against protest organizers.

Threats of arrest have also been explicit. According to Eyas,

"It was around two in the morning. A unit entered the village on foot and began to search the homes, house by house. They took pictures of every young man they found. They took pictures of everyone on the basis that, this is what they said, if someone throws a stone, we will come and take him from this home."

These threats are not empty. Several days ago, early in the morning of January 23, soldiers raided al Nabi Saleh and arrested 14-year-old Islam Tamimi. The next day they briefly arrested and held his 10 year old brother, and several days later arrested several 15-year-old boys as well as the head of the popular committee, Bassam Tamimi, who was released later. According Eyas,

"They are not doing anything (illegal). The people want to go to their land, and they aren’t doing anything wrong. All the youth participate. [The goal] is the land that belongs to us. The settlement that is here exists on the land of the village. Our land. We don’t want anything, except to enter our land. It is one project [with the demonstrations in the West Bank], until liberation."


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