Photo from Bil'in village this Friday afternoon. Photo credit: Mohammed Yasin.

IOF attack weekly nonviolent protests in the occupied West Bank

PNN/Bethlehem

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Friday 18 March, attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the apartheid Wall and the illegal Israeli settlements, in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, Kufur Qaddoum town, northern of Qalqilia, as well as in Nil’in village, causing dozens to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation. Furthermore, the IOF tried to supress a demonstration in Bethlehem.
 
In Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, the weekly nonviolent protest started from the center of the village, when locals and international peace activists marched towards the villagers’ orchards.According to locals, the Israeli soldiers fired many gas bombs at the protesters. Many suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Today, the protesters were celebrating the death anniversary of Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, that was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer while undertaking nonviolent direct action to protect the home of a Palestinian family from demolition in the Gaza Strip in 2003.
In February this year, Bil’in village celebrated the eleventh anniversary of ongoing popular, nonviolent struggle against the construction of the illegal apartheid wall, illegal settlements and the escalating Israeli violations against the Palestinian population.
 
In Ni’lin village, also west of Ramallah, as in Bil’in, the protesters were celebrating the death anniversary of Rachel Corrie.They marched carrying posters of her and pictures of Tristan Anderson, an American peace activist who was seriously injured after a high-velocity Israeli gas bomb struck him in the forehead, on March 13 2009, causing cognitive impairment and physical disability.
The Ni’lin Popular Committee stated that the Israeli soldiers assaulted dozens of Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists with tear gas bombs that can reach more than 1000 meters away.
“Many of those gas bombs struck homes, causing many Palestinians, including children, to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation,” he said, “This is the second week the soldiers use this type of gas bombs in the village,” Mohammad Amira, member of the Popular Committee said to local reporters.
 
In Kufur Qaddoum town, northern of Qalqilia, the Israeli soldiers assaulted the weekly nonviolent protest with rubber-coated metal bullets and loads of tear gas bombs.

The weekly protest started from the center of the town, following Friday noon prayers, when dozens of residents, accompanied international activists marched carrying Palestinian flags and chanting for the liberation of Palestine.

Media spokesperson of the Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum, Murad Eshteiwy, said to the local press that the Israeli soldiers used excessive forces against the protesters, and deployed many sharpshooters in the village’s olive orchards, and between many homes.

He added that many residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, especially after the Israeli soldiers targeted a number of homes in the town.

Furthermore, in Bethlehem, Palestinian medical sources have reported that the Israeli soldiers shot a young man with a live round, while many local residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, at the city’s northern entrance.

The medical sources added that the young man was shot in his leg and was moved to Beit Jala Hospital for treatment; his wounds were described as moderate.