Undercover Special Forces Attack the Weekly Demonstration in Nabi Saleh

Popular Struggle Coordination Committee      15 October, 2010

Undercover soldiers from the Army’s special forces unit, Duvdevan, attacked the demonstration in Nabi Saleh as it was coming to an end. Four were arrested and four were injured.

Patience certainly didn’t characterize the Army’s behavior today during the weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh. The dozens of men, women and children who marched in protest down the streets of their tiny hamlet were attacked on sight by a force of Israeli soldiers and Border police officers positioned at the town’s main junction – well inside the village. The Israeli forces initially used tear-gas and concussion grenades, but quickly moved on to shooting scores rubber-coated bullets.

As rubber-coated bullets whizzed by and the asphyxiating tear-gas clouded the houses of Nabi Saleh and spread throw its streets, marching was rendered impossible, and dispersed clashes began. Some of the village’s residents responded to the military’s aggression with setting up barricades made of stones and dumpsters on the street to impede the soldiers advance deeper into the village, while others threw stones, taking cover behind makeshift barriers. Some live fire was used, but luckily no one was hit.

As clashes dwindled down and were about to end, soldiers from the army’s Duvdevan special forces unit drove into the village under-cover, in a white van with Palestinian number plates, embedded into a wedding motorcade from the adjacent village of Beit Rimma. They then got out of the car and stormed at the demonstrators, guns drawn and shooting live fire in the air and towards people.
The attack resulted in the arrest of three Palestinian demonstrators and one Israeli camerawoman, who had one of her cameras broken and another stolen by the soldiers. The soldiers also failed to arrest a second cameraman, Bilal Tamimi, who managed to escape with the above footage, as well as a medic with the Palestinian Red Crescent who was also beaten up. Another demonstrator took a blow to the face from a rifle butt, causing intense bleeding below the eye.

Then, as the sun began coming down behind the hilltops to the west, the army despite complete calm, staged yet another invasion into the village, which began by simultaneously shooting dozens of tear-gas projectiles into the village. Clashes then resumed and ended shortly after dark, with the day’s most serious injury. As the last armored jeep drove out of the village, one of the soldiers stuck the barrel of his gun out through the firing loophole and fired a burst of rubber-coated bullets from inside the armored vehicle. A young man from the village was hit twice in the left shin, and suffered a penetration wound.