Around 80 Palestinian residents, alongside Israeli and international solidarity activists, gathered to demonstrate against construction of the Apartheid Wall in Ni’lin on Friday, July 10, 2009. After the weekly prayer, demonstrators marched to the Wall, chanting slogans against the Occupation and theft of their land. Upon arriving at the site, protesters cut the illegal fence with cutters.
Israeli forces shot tear-gas canisters at the protest, but individuals continued to destroy the fence. In response to the military violence, young Palestinian men threw stones and paint at the military vehicles driving below the Wall. Demonstrators managed to cut through the fence and placed boulders and a burning tire on the road to prevent military vehicles from driving close by and attacking.
The demonstration ended abruptly when approximately 10 members of Israeli special forces, disguised as participants with masked faces pulled out pistols and telescopic batons. Soldiers armed with guns and riot shields then entered through the fence and shot large amounts of tear gas, smoke grenades, percussion grenades and live ammunition from their handguns.
Two Palestinian young men were arrested and led away in handcuffs with their heads forced downwards and arms pulled upwards.
Israeli forces commonly use tear-gas canisters, rubber coated steel bullets and live ammunition against demonstrators.
To date, Israeli occupation forces have murdered five Palestinian residents and critically injured 1 international solidarity activist during unarmed demonstrations in Ni’lin.
* 29 July 2008: Ahmed Mousa (10) was shot in the forehead with 5.56mm caliber live ammunition and pronounced dead upon arrival at a Ramallah hospital.
* 30 July 2008: Yousef Amira (17) was shot in the head with two rubber coated steel bullets. He died in a Ramallah hospital 5 days later on 4 August 2008.
* 28 December 2008: Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22) was shot in the back with 5.56mm caliber live ammunition and pronounced dead upon arrival at a Ramallah hospital.
* 28 December 2008: Mohammed Khawaje (20) was shot in the head with 5.56mm caliber live ammunition. He died in a Ramallah hospital 3 days later on 31 December 2008.
* 13 March 2009: Tristan Anderson (37), an American citizen, was shot in the head with a high velocity tear gas projectile. He is currently at Tel Hashomer hospital with an unknown
* 5 June 2009: Yousef Akil Srour (36) was shot in the chest with 0.22 caliber live ammunition and pronounced dead upon arrival at a Ramallah hospital.
In total, 35 people have been shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition in Ni’lin: 7 were shot with 5.56mm caliber live ammunition and 28 were shot with 0.22 caliber live ammunition.
Since May 2008, residents of Ni’lin have been organizing and participating in unarmed demonstrations against construction of the Apartheid Wall. Despite being deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, the Occupation continues to build the Wall, further annexing Palestinian land.
Ni’lin will lose approximately 2,500 dunums of agricultural land when construction of the Wall is completed. Israel annexed 40,000 of Ni’lin’s 58,000 dunums in 1948. After the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, the illegal settlements and infrastructure of Kiryat Sefer, Mattityahu and Maccabim were built on village lands and Ni’lin lost another 8,000 dunums. Of the remaining 10,000 dunums, the Occupation will confiscate 2,500 for the Wall and 200 for a tunnel to be built under the segregated settler-only road 446. Ni’lin will be left with 7,300 dunums.
The current entrance to the village will be closed and replaced by a tunnel to be built under Road 446. This tunnel will allow for the closure of the road to Palestinian vehicles, turning road 446 into a segregated settler-only road . Ni’lin will be effectively split into 2 parts (upper Ni’lin and lower Ni’lin), as road 446 runs between the village. The tunnel is designed to give Israeli occupation forces control of movement over Ni’lin residents, as it can be blocked with a single military vehicle.
[Report by the International Solidarity Movement]