Women lead the struggle at Nabi Saleh

by Popular Struggle Coordination Commitee: 9 March 2012

Dozens marched at Nabi Saleh this week, marking Women’s Day and calling for the release of political prisoner Hana Shalabi.

One activist was injured by a tear-gas canister, leading to fracture in his knee. Three were injured by rubber coated bullets.

Women have been participating in popular demonstrations at Nabi Saleh from the early days of the struggle in the village. However, in recent months their participation has grown stronger and has become much more visible than before. This week, on the event of International Women’s Day, protesters at Nabi Saleh marched in solidarity with hunger striking political prisoner Hana Shalabi, who is kept in administrative detention in Israeli military prison.

Protesters marched down the road from the center of the village towards the lands and spring that were confiscated by the adjacent settlement of Halamish. They used stones to create a barricade, aiming to block military jeeps from driving into the village and preceded towards the group of soldiers that were stationed on the road. Without any provocation on behalf of the demonstrators the army started shooting massive amounts of tear gas canisters, followed by volleys of shock grenades and rubber coated bullets. The army chased the protesters into the village, continuing shooting tear gas inside the populated areas and into houses. Village homes were also heavily sprayed by the “skunk” foul-smelling liquid. During this incursion, three protesters were injured by rubber coated bullets and one activist was injured from a tear-gas canister that hit him near the knee. He was taken to the hospital and was found suffering from a severe fraction which might require an operation. In addition, one American activist was detained by the army. Soldiers were eventually forced out of the village by a group of determined women yet clashed between soldiers and the local youth persisted on the hills surrounding the villages until late afternoon.

Background

Hana Yahya Shalabi (30) from the Burqin village near Jenin was released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, after being held in administrative detention for over two years (Sep. 2009 to Oct. 2011). During her arrest she was sexually harassed, put in solitary confinement and was denied trial. No allegations were brought against her by the Israeli security forces. On February 16th 2012 she was re-arrested and put under administrative detention for six month along with several other Palestinian prisoners released in the Gilad Shalit deal. Hana began a hunger strike, inspired by the hunger strike of Khader Adnan, to protest administrative detentions and abuse during interrogations and arrests. Hana Shalabi and over three hundred Palestinians are imprisoned for long periods without any charges and are never brought to trial. As a woman, Hana Shalabi faces a great risk of humiliation and sexual abuse, and has already been harassed in the past. Her strike calls attention to the physical and mental violence suffered by Palestinian women and men in Israeli jails. ..

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