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Palestinians injured, Israelis & others detained

Palestinians injured, Israeli and international activists detained after nonviolent demonstration in Hebron

[Hebron, West Bank] In the West Bank village of Khallet Al-Dar in the Qalqas area of Hebron, hundreds of Palestinians with the support of international and Israeli activists prevented Israeli bulldozers from continuing construction of an illegal bypass road. Today's protest was an effort to plant trees in the location where over 300 trees were uprooted on Sunday, January 30.

Two Palestinians were injured during the nonviolent demonstration, one of whom was hospitalized after Israeli soldiers forcefully pushed him to the ground. One Canadian activist with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) was hit by Israeli soldiers in the head with the butt of a rifle and then punched in the face. Israeli soldiers launched tear gas and sound bombs. A number of Palestinians were treated for respiratory problems as a result.

The Israeli military detained two ISM volunteers from Britain and Canada and five Israelis from the Anarchists against the Wall. They were brought to the Hebron central police station where they have been held and interrogated since 2pm. The two ISM volunteers were released at 8pm on the condition that they not return to the area for two weeks. One Israeli minor has been charged with assaulting a police officer and is still being detained. The remaining four Israelis were offered to be released but have chosen to remain in police custody in solidarity with the Israeli minor until his release. Today's assault on peaceful protests continues the Israeli authorities' campaign against nonviolent Palestinian, Israeli and international activists.

In the Hebron district alone there are more than 120 kilometers of bypass roads connecting the Israeli settlements with one other and with Israel. All Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law. If built, the new road will connect the two illegal Israeli settlements of Kiryat Arba and Hagai. In effect these roads carve up the Palestinian areas into isolated ghettos.

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