Friday Demonstration in Ni’lin

On Friday, August 7th at 1pm, approximately 30 international activists joined roughly 120 residents of Ni’lin on their weekly demonstration against the illegal Apartheid wall which Israel constructed on Ni’lin land.  The protesters walked through the olive grove on the southern side of the village towards the wall and settlements surrounding Ni’lin on three sides, reaching the fence around 1:30pm, many brandishing Palestinian flags.  Soldiers immediately began to shoot tear gas, sound grenades, and smelly chemical water known in Arabic as “khara” or “shit”.  Fortunately for activists, the wind blew the gas and chemicals away from them.  Many protesters threw rocks on the security road preventing army jeeps from easily accessing the demonstrators.  When security vehicles passed, they were pummeled with stones by the shebab, the soldiers jumping quickly in and out of their jeeps to shoot tear gas and rubber bullets.  After the second soldier invasion on the Palestinian side of the fence, protesters dispersed and returned to the village shortly after 3pm.  One member of the press was injured on the leg by a tear gas canister.
In 1948, the village of Ni’lin had 58,000 dunnums of land; today there remain only 7,300 dunnums.  In the latest round of land confiscation by the separation barrier, nearly 3,000 dunnums were taken including 200 for a tunnel to be built under the segregated settler-only road 446, closing the current entrance to the village.  The tunnel will close the road to Palestinian vehicles, and is designed to give Israeli occupation forces control over the movement of Palestinian residents by allowing the village to be blocked with a single military vehicle.  Ni’lin will be split into two parts, upper and lower, as the road runs through the village.

In total, 38 people have been shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition in Ni’lin: nine were shot with 5.56mm caliber live ammunition and 29 were shot with 0.22 caliber live ammunition.  To date, Israeli occupation forces have killed five Palestinians and critically injured one international activist during the unarmed demonstrations.  The last use of live ammunition against Ni’lin protesters was on June 5th, 2009 in which five Palestinians were shot, including one fatality – http://www.palestinesolidarityproject.org

The procession of roughly 120 Palestinians and 30 internationals marches through olive fields down to the separation barrier after Friday prayerUnlike in Bi'lin where the protesters stay together on one road leading to the fence, Ni'lin protesters scatter across an olive grove along the fence and pelt army vehicles with rocksThrowing stones on the military ring road along the separation fence to make soldier access more difficultThere was a large military presence.  Soldiers launched dangerously high-velocity tear gas projectiles, toxic chemicals called "shit" in Arabic and rubber bullets.  Soldiers invaded the Palestinian side of the fence twice during the demo

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