by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 20 July 2012
Hundreds of Palestinians across the West Bank march to their lands despite scorching heat and military repression
On the first fasting day of Ramadan, hundreds of Palestinian men, women and children participated in popular marches to reclaim land and resist the occupation. Demonstrations began shortly after Friday prayers in Bil’in, Kufr Qaddoum, Nabi Saleh, Ni’ilin and al-Ma’asara.
Two Israeli activists were arrested in Nabi Saleh, where protesters succeeded again in approaching the confiscated fresh water spring. Although the army declared closed military zone in the area and made efforts to remove protesters, settlers were allowed to bathe and were even guarded by an army battalion throughout their stay. As protesters made their way back to the village, the army rushed after them and invaded the village, shooting tear-gas and rubber-coated bullets inside a residential area.
Demonstration in Nabi Saleh 2012-07-20
In al-Ma’asara, dozens marched towards their lands that have been confiscated for the construction of the Wall. Although on weekdays farmers’ access is usually uninterrupted, on Fridays it is always halted – exemplifying the crude and arbitrary use of martial law t0 deny basic rights of movement and political organization. Army forces physically blocked the road leading from the village to the agricultural lands, resorting to violence against demonstrators to enforce the closure. A similar state of siege was declared in Kufr Qaddum, where demonstrators marched towards their lands that have been recently confiscated for the construction of a new Jewish-only settlement. The demonstration was dispersed with disproportionate force, used stun grenades, tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets against demonstrators.
Demonstration in al-Ma’asara: Photo Credit: RRB/Activestills
Bil’in’s weekly demo made its way from the center of the village to Abu Lamon grove, near the stretch of the Wall. When they made it to the Wall, they were met by the army that quickly started shooting tear-gas canisters and used the “skunk”, a water cannon spraying foul-smelling liquid to deter protesters from approaching the fence. Some protesters required medical treatment. In Ni’ilin, Friday prayers in the olive groves were followed by a march towards the wall that was met by a volley of tear-gas. No injuries were reported.