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Kufr Thulth Residents March Against Occupation

Residents of Kufr Thulth March in Non-violent Protest of Illegal Settlements and Military Occupation of Their Lands

Met with Israeli army violence

Israeli Journalist and Two Israeli Activists Beaten, Palestinian land-owner injured

United Kingdom activist arrested

Village plans future actions

Residents met at the Village Council of Kufr Thulth, Salfit region, this morning and attempted to march, peacefully, to confiscated Palestinian lands and then to the Israeli military base.

The Israeli army responded by firing tear gas and concussion grenades at the demonstrators.

According to eye-witness reports, Israelis soldiers beat an Israeli journalist and broke his camera. They also beat two Israeli activists. All three sustained moderate injuries.

Hannah, an activist from the United Kingdom, was arrested and taken to Ariel Police Station.

According to eye-witness accounts, Hamid Deed, the owner of the land that is being confiscated, was taken away in an ambulance after being hit in the face with a tear gas canister. As the ambulance attempted to evacuate the old man, the Israeli army fired tear gas at the vehicle.

The Mayor of Kufr Thulth spoke with representatives of the Israeli DCO and presented the village demands. They agreed to meet with the Palestinian DCO to discuss the demands in the near future.

The Mayor informed the Israeli DCO that if they did not meet to discuss their demands, then the next time they march they will go directly to the structures that have been placed on Palestinian land and dismantle them.

This march is seen as a success. It is the first time the village residents have organized to protest,non-violently, the confiscation of their lands. Area residents from neighboring villages also felt this to be an important start of a campaign to protect and reclaim their land.

For information or reports on today's action, please call: Kim: 972-546-236-154 Dave: 972-6760-95

*************************************************

THE VILLAGE OF KUFR THULTH DEMANDS THE FOLLOWING:

•Close the road that passes through the Palestinian lands, carrying out the Israeli court orders.

•Stop the cutting and uprooting trees by the settlers.

•Stop the stealing of Palestinian lands by settlers

•Secure the right of the Palestinian farmers to work in and grow their lands

•Remove all the settler houses and other buildings from the Palestinian lands

Background information:

Kufr Thulth, a village of 4000, in the Sulfit region north of Mas'Ha, is surrounded by four illegal Israeli settlements. In 2001, settlers began to establish another outpost on the land owned by villagers from Kufr Thulth, by placing empty caravans on the land.

In 2003, settlers began to regularly visit the caravans on weekends. Two roads were established for settler use, while Palestinian roads were blocked or destroyed. The Israeli Army established a watchtower in the area. The village took the case to the Israeli courts and won an injunction to close the settler roads. In response, the Israeli Army declared the roads for military use only and have since prevented Palestinians access to the area.

In mid-2004, settlers raided Palestinian lands and uprooted and cut around 150 almond and olive trees. The Israeli police refused to accept complaints from the village. In October, settlers once again raided the Palestinian fields and cut more trees with the protection of the Israeli Army and the Israeli District Coordinating Liaison.

Since October 2004, settlers have started to live and establish housing infrastructure on the land, all of which has been done under the protection of the Israeli Army. Palestinian farmers have been attacked, shot at, prevented from reaching their land and more trees have been cut, again all under the protection of the Israeli Army.

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