Israeli soldiers fired on Friday teargas at a reporter working for Al Jazeera English as she was covering the nonviolent weekly protest against the Annexation Wall in Bil’in village near Ramallah.
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Jacky Rowland was reporting Friday from the West Bank village of Bil’in, explaining to viewers about the separation fence and the weekly protests that take place there, when Israeli troops began firing tear gas at the protesters and then directly at her.
For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1112501.html
The Friends of Freedom and Justice Committee in Bil’in reported that at least 40 soldiers invaded the village and broke into the house of Ashraf Mohammad Al Khatib, 29, and kidnapped him, before breaking into the house of Hamru Hisham Burnat, 24, and kidnapping him.
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The cameraman, Haitham Al-Khatib, who was filming in his own house, one victim being his brother, was repeatedly forcibly moved and hit, and threatened with arrest unless he stopped filming. They declared his house a “closed military zone” but did not produce any military order. 3 Jeeps and 2 Humvee jeeps were used for the operation. The Israeli Army invaded Bil’in from three directions, the neighbor villages Kofr Ni’ma and Saffa, and through the gate from the Apartheid Wall. They parked their vehicles, engines running, opposite the mosque. With the victims inside the Jeeps, the vehicles exited the village toward the Wall.
For full article, visit http://www.bilin-village.org/english/articles/testimonies/Night-raid-in-Bilin
According to reports from the popular committee, about 25 soldiers with painted faces entered the village, and threw sound bombs at international activists who have remained in the village to witness the night raids. Internationals attempted to intervene and demand Abu Rahmeh’s release, but were physically assaulted as they approached. Reports said soldiers knocked one woman to the ground and pulled the hair of another.
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Ten protesters were injured as European Parliament VP Morgantini promised to “bring Israel in front of the International Court of Justice,” and noting that “Israel cannot remain unpunished for all the crimes that has committed.”
Attendees of Bil’in’s fourth annual conference on nonviolent resistance walked with village residents to the site where Israeli soldiers shot and killed 29-year-old Basem Rahmeh one week ago and erected a monument in his honor amid torrents of Israeli bullets and tear gas.
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Four Palestinians sustained bruises after being attacked by Israeli soldiers during the weekly anti-wall protest in Al-Ma’sara south of Bethlehem Friday.
Tens of locals and international peace activists rallied against the construction of the illegal Israeli separation wall and settlement expansion. Ralliers also marked the death one week ago of Basem Rahmeh, killed by an Israeli tear-gas canister shot at his chest in Bil’in.
Villagers, backed by ralliers, requested permission to enter their lands on the far side of the Israeli separation wall, but were denied. The ensuing protest lead to several youth being beaten by Israeli soldiers.
Dozens choked on tear gas and four others were injured by rubber coated bullets when clashes erupted between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers in the village of Ni’lin during the weekly anti-wall protest Friday.
Residents at this week’s rally commemorated the death of Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh, killed by a high-velocity tear-gas canister shot at his chest in Bil’in village’s anti-wall protest last week. They were matched by a dozen Israeli settlers marching on the opposite side of the wall.
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Bil’in’s fourth annual conference on nonviolent resistance will see at least two presentations by Vice President of the European Parliament and outspoken supporter of Palestine Luisa Morgantini, who will stay in Palestine for a week.
The “priority objective” for Morgantini’s visit will be addressing the conference, though her itinerary also includes a meeting with Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and several meetings with the Beit Jala International Women’s Committee.
Morgantini will also take part in the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the construction of the Israeli separation wall in Bil’in Friday.
In their statement condemning the killing, the Israeli peace organization Gush Shalom noted:
This escalation was not caused by the demonstrators’ behavior, in which there had been no change, but to new instructions given to the military forces on the ground. Whether by explicit instructions or by a tacit nod and a new “spirit of the commander”, the finger on the trigger was loosed and authorization given for the tear gas containers as lethal missiles.
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Nasir Samara, a member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, explained, “Ibrahim was not even close to the [w]all when he was a shot from a distance of less than 20 meters. He was carrying a Palestinian flag and shouting that this was a nonviolent demonstration. The tear gas canister hit and entered his chest, killing him.”
This is the second time soldiers have fired on unarmed demonstrations from a lethal range in the past two months. On 13 March 2009, American activist Tristan Anderson was shot in the head by the same type of ammunition, putting him in a coma and nearly killing him.
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The demonstration on Friday afternoon was meant to commemorate Land Day, but Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters, injuring four of them, including Americans and others who choked on teargas or were shot.
It was not immediately clear whether or not the injured demonstrators were shot by live fire or rubber-coated bullets, although it is usually the latter at the weekly anti-wall demonstrations across the West Bank.
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Protesters’ banners condemned Israel’s ongoing policies and violence against civilians, especially in Jerusalem and commemorated what the Palestinians call the Land Day. The protest began in the center of the village then headed towards the Apartheid Wall which is being built on Bil’in’s land.
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