Nabi Saleh salutes Freedom Waves flotialla

By Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 4 November 2011

Nabi Saleh demonstration salutes the Freedom Wave Flotilla. A young Palestinian photographer, Hazma Yassin from Bil’in, was arrested and beaten while raising his hands.

Dozens participated in this week’s demonstration in Nabi Saleh against the Israeli occupation and settlements. Nabi Saleh residents, Palestinian activists, and international and Israeli supporters wore “Freedom Flotilla” ribbons to salute the Freedom Waves to Gaza flotilla activists in their attempt to break the Israeli naval siege on Gaza.

Slightly after noon, a peaceful procession started at the center of the village and headed towards the village farmlands and spring, taken over by settlers. Israeli forces blocked the protesters from approaching the spring, shooting masses of tear gas from two different locations at the protesters. Two men were injured due to gas inhalation and required medical attention.

Hamza Yaseen Shortly Before His Arrest, Nabi Saleh
Hamza Yaseen (19) from Bil’in, shortly before being arrested in Nabi Saleh

From there on demonstrators kept going back and forth on the village’s main road towards the exit, blocked by Israeli forces. Others threw stones to ward off the army incursion. The army used a foul-smelling water cannon, rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas projectiles. Both the bullets and projectiles were shot indiscriminately and directly at protesters, sometimes at a pace of about a dozen at once, using automated cannons. As a result, more than a dozen were slightly injured. One protester required medical treatment and was taken to a hospital, after his finger was hit and broken by a rubber-coated bullet.

Near the end of the demonstration, and for no apparent reason, four Israeli jeeps entered the village and circled inside it, stones hurled at them throughout. At a certain point Israeli soldiers also hid behind a military tower, leaving the road clear, and then reappeared chasing nearing protesters. One Palestinian photographer, Hamza Yaseen from the village of Bil’in was beaten while raising his hands in the air, and then arrested. He is accused on stone-throwing, despite the fact that he was carrying a camera throughout the demonstration.