Digest: Destruction in Barta, Success in Balatta
Short Digest: Destruction in Barta, Success in Balatta
Correction: Ann Petter's trial was rescheduled for 21 July, not 31 July.
[Barta'a, Jenin Region] Today we went with a group of ISM-ers to the village of Barta'a. Barta'a is a village split in two by the Green Line and is separated from the West Bank by the Apartheid Wall.
This morning we heard that the IOF had entered the village to demolish houses. We got in a servis and went to the checkpoint near Barta'a. After the checkpoint we walked towards the village, but once inside, we were stopped by the army. Some time later we managed to reach the site where the shops were, waiting to be destroyed. Hundreds of people tried to move all the stuff from their shops, as the army approached.
'We spoke to the head of the village council, who was desparately trying to prevent the demolitions. He told that the army had moved in at 5am trying to secure the area. About 25 army vehicles containing dozens of soldiers were brought in. But there was a lot of resistance, and stone throwing continued for hours. During these clashes, he told, 10 Palestinians were wounded by live bullets and 6 soldiers were wounded as well. The army claimed the reason for the demolition of the shops was that they had been built "without a permit." A total of 21 houses (mostly shops) had to be demolished....
He told furthermore that one of the 21 houses was a sowing factory, employing about 120 people. In the rest ot the shops about 40 people were working. As he told us all this, the army suddenly decided that they would clear the area by throwing large amounts of sound bombs and threatening the crowd to shoot with live ammunition. The crowd was dispersed as bulldozers came to destroy the shops. Sometime later, a bulldozer went to a civilian house under construction. Soldiers threw many sound bombs inside the adjacent house to force the people out. As they did so, shabab gathered once more and began to throw stones. This was responded by rubber and live bullets. We were not able to see how many people were wounded, because there were soldiers everywhere, stopping Palestinians from coming nearer. The bulldozer managed to destroy the house completely ( the 22nd so far ). As we left the scene, there was still shooting going on, rubber and live bullets. On our way back, we saw Palestinians being held captive at Barta'a checkpoint. How many were arrested is still unclear.
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Army invades Nablus, hits International Peace Activist [Nablus-Occupied Palestine, 21:30 GMT +3] The Israeli Occupation Army invaded Balata Refugee Camp, east of the West Bank city of Nablus, late Tuesday afternoon. A group of 25 Palestinian and International peace activists from the International Solidarity Movement, (ISM) stood in the street leading to Al-Quds road where the army is invading from.
The activists tried to stop the army from coming into the camp in a proactive measure. If the army couldn't enter the camp, they couldn't shoot anyone inside. The decision to act resulted from the repeated army invasions into the camp. On Monday, troops invaded the camp and started provoking the residents by driving fast inside the narrow roads of the camp and shooting in the air. Kids started throwing stones at the jeep, who replied with live fire, killing a 14 year-old boy.
Two days prior to that, on Saturday, the army invaded the area and started shooting their machine guns, killing a Palestinian youth in the camp.
Today's action, Tuesday, 20 July 20, 2004, as the activists stood in front of the jeep, the soldiers stepped out of the jeep and assaulted the activists in an attempt to disperse them. The jeep drove in the direction of the activists, who stood their ground. When they refused to move, the jeep slowly drove into one of the American activists identified as Peter.
Peter suffered an injury in his knee as half of his body was physically under the jeep.
The army returned later and tried to invade the camp from another road. The activists again faced the jeep and did not allow them to enter the camp.
Preventing the army to enter the camp also prevented clashes with the army to erupt, unlike the previous three days.
When the action
ended, the residents, who only this morning attended the
funeral of the fourteen year old boy killed yesterday by the
Israeli army, welcomed the activists inside the camp.