Israeli forces suppress weekly marches in Bilin, Kafr Qaddum
In the village of Bilin, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians after installing checkpoints at three roads leading to the village, preventing foreign protesters to enter the village and participate in their weekly march.
Coordinator of the popular committee against the Israeli wall and settlements Abdullah Abu Rahma said that Israeli forces detained Majdi Abu Rahma, 32, and seized his vehicle, while also detaining Issa Khader Abu Rahma, 14.
Protesters reached the area of the separation wall’s gate, and shouted national slogans demanding the freeing of Palestinian prisoners, particularly Jamal Abu al-Leil, who has been on hunger strike for 22 days, and Muhammad al-Qiq, who ended his 32-day hunger strike on Friday.
Israeli forces shot tear gas canisters at the protesters, causing many to suffer from tear gas inhalation, as clashes broke out between soldiers and Palestinian youth. Protesters gathered at the village’s entrances and succeeded in forcing Israeli soldiers to leave and re-open the entrances to the village following clashes.
Local coordinator of the popular resistance in the village Murad Shteiwi told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the village and fired tear gas canisters at protesters. The injured were provided with medical care at the scene by Palestinian Red Crescent crews.
Shteiwi said that violent clashes erupted between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers who were stationed on rooftops. They fired rubber-coated bullets and sound bombs at protesters. Shteiwi added that Israeli forces were not successful in detaining any Palestinians.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on both villages.
The Israeli army blocked off the road after expanding the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim in 2003, forcing village residents to take a bypass road in order to travel to Nablus, which has extended the travel time to Nablus from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
Some 120 others have been detained at demonstrations and were subsequently held in Israeli custody for periods ranging between four and 24 months, Shteiwi said at the time, adding that they had paid fines totaling some 25,000 shekels (approximately $6,488).
Over the course of five years, an elderly protester was killed after suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation, one youth lost his eyesight, and another his ability to speak, he added.
A video of the incident was taken by a volunteer of B’Tselem and quickly went viral. Rights groups and activists pointed out that the video seemed to show the soldiers using the child as a human shield during clashes.
B’Tselem strongly condemned the incident at the time, saying that “it does not take a lawyer to know that the detention of a seven-year-old child by soldiers, keeping him by their side as they shoot at his friends, is deplorable and utterly unacceptable."