by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 6 July 2012
Following last week’s success in reaching the confiscated spring, army used considerable means to repress this week’s demonstration. According to the protesters, the army mainly targeted women who were leading the protest. Three were arrested.
Several dozens of Nabi Saleh residents joined by supporters from Israel and abroad, joined the weekly protest against settlement expansion and the ongoing occupation this week. Protesters aimed to repeat last week’s historical victory of reaching the fresh water spring that was confiscated by settlers, with the support of the army, more than two years ago. They marched down the hill overseeing the spring, only to be met with extensive use of tear-gas canisters and rubber coated bullets. After reassembling, protesters tried to make their way through the main road of the village. There, the army resorted to using the “skunk” – a water cannon used to spray foul-smelling liquid on protesters. Targeting in particular two women leaders of the protests, the army sprayed massive torrents of liquid directly at them.
Three protesters were arrested by the army amidst the clashes: A Palestinian woman, an international solidarity activist and an Israeli activist. The three all spent the night in detention and should be brought in front of a judge. Under the Israeli apartheid legal system, an Israeli detainee has to be brought in front of a judge within 24 hours whereas a Palestinian can be detained for eight days before judicial review is stipulated. This is true even if both detainees were arrested during the same demonstration and are accused of the same charges.
Picture by Oren Ziv/Activestills
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.