IDF Attacks Demonstration with Rubber bullets
A Peaceful Demonstration in Bil'in Village, Palestine, was attacked today by the Israeli military, using rubber bullets, tear gas and sound grenades.
There were 4 wounded including a 61 year old peace activist from Los Angeles, USA, who was injured by a tear gas cannister, and required hospital treatment, her condition is not considered to be critical. Two Israeli activists and a Canadian have been detained.
Villagers, International Volunteers from ISM and the IWPS and Israelis, gathered today in Bil'in to protest against the construction of the Apartheid Wall. This will rob Bil'in of 52% of their agricultural land this land has been earmarked for settlement expansion. Focussing on the IDF's increasing use of violence to protect illegal settlements, and using the slogan "Guns Kill Peace" around 200 protesters approached the site of the Wall and confronted the soldiers.
Israeli activists attempted to engage the soldiers in dialogue, asking soldiers why they were protecting illegal settlements and pointing out that these were an obstacle to peace. Soldiers responded by throwing sound grenades and opening fire, with tear gas and rubber bullets;these were being fired directly at the crowd against all protocols. The demonstration had been completely peaceful up to this point with community leaders ensuring that there was no stone throwing or provocation. Soldiers later openned fire on crowds of Palestinian children who had been dancing and singing during the protest.
The demonstrations in Bil'in have been met with increasing violence by the IDF. The villagers see the non-violent protests as a vital means of channelling anger and frustration at the increase in human-rights abuses and land-grabs.
An ISM spokesperson stated.
"The increasing use of force by the IDF when confronting a peaceful demonstrations, shows Sharon's determination to force through his illegal settlement policy in the West Bank, and quell any dissenting voices by force if necessary. It also suggests that democracy and human rights are only to be enjoyed by Israeli citizens and therefore he does not see the Palestinians as human beings."
there will be footage of the demonstraton later today on the ISM website at http://www.palsolidarity.org