Large military forces raided the village of Nabi Saleh last night and maintained presence in the village until dawn, only to conduct another raid during the demonstration today.
Some several dozen protesters, residents of Nabi Saleh, accompanied by Palestinian, Israeli and international supporters participated in the weekly protest in the village this week. Shortly after the Friday prayer, as the demonstration was only beginning to march towards the village’s confiscated lands, the army entered the village with great force.
video by David Reeb
Shooting large amounts of tear-gas projectiles, rubber-coated bullets, soldiers occupied a space at the center of the village and remained there for several hours, effectively imposing a curfew on the village. Protesters were thus blocked with almost inability to move inside, not to mention out of Nabi Saleh. The army also used the “skunk”, a water canon of foul-smelling liquid, spraying it directly and intentionally into residential houses. Small clashed erupted, which ended after the army finally retreated. No arrests or injuries were reported.
Background Nabi Saleh is a small village of approximately 550 people, twenty kilometres north west of Ramallah in the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Israeli colony of Halamish (also known as Neveh Tzuf ) was established on lands belonging to the villages of An Nabi Saleh and Deir Nidham in 1976. In response to the illegal colony being established on their land, the residents of An Nabi Saleh and Deir Nidham began holding demonstrations in opposition to the stealing of their land and the establishment of the colony (whose establishment violates international law). The residents of An Nabi Saleh and Deir Nidham lodged a court case against the colony in Israel’s high court, but were unable to stop the construction the illegal settlement.
Since its establishment in 1977, Halamish colony has continued to expand and steal more Palestinian land. In 2008, the residents of An Nabi Saleh challenged the building of a fence by the colony on private Palestinian land and which prevented Palestinians from accessing their land.
The Israeli courts ruled that the fence was to be dismantled Despite the Israeli court ruling, the colony continued to illegally annex more Palestinian land. In the summer of 2008, the Israeli colonists from Halamish seized control of a number springs, all of which were located on private Palestinian land belonging to residents of An Nabi Saleh. In December 2009, the village began weekly non-violent demonstrations in opposition to the illegal Israeli colony of Halamish annexing of the fresh water springs and stealing of more of the village’s land.
Since An Nabi Saleh began its demonstrations, the Israeli military has brutally sought to repress the non-violent protests, arresting more than 13% of the village, including children. In total, as of 31 March 2011, 64 village residents have been arrested. All but three were tried for participating in the non-violent demonstrations. Of those imprisoned, 29 have been minors under the age of 18 years and 4 have been women.