Israeli forces try to prevent demonstrators from reaching the village, and fire barrages of tear gas at demonstrators.
Roughly 300 people — Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals — marched in the West Bank village on Nabi Saleh on Saturday to demand that Israel free the Tamimi family women, 16-year-old Ahed and her mother, Nariman, as well as other members of the popular resistance committees who have been arrested over the past several weeks.
In addition to the residents of Nabi Saleh, the demonstrators included Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh; Palestinian Legislative Council member Mustafa Barghouti; Mohammad Barakeh, chairman of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel; and Luisa Morgentini, a former member of the European Parliament. Activists from the popular resistance committees of Al-Masara, Bil’in, Ni’lin, Kadum, Hebron, and other cities and towns across the West Bank also joined the protest, as did members of Anarchists Against the Wall, Combatants for Peace, and Ta’ayush.
Israeli forces blocked the main entrance to village early in the morning, but activists managed to arrive in Nabi Saleh via other routes. The demonstrators gathered in the center of the village and began to march, at first led by a line of women to represent the strong female leadership of the popular struggle in the village. They were joined by Naila Ayesh, a leader during the First Intifada, whose story is featured in the film “Naila and the Uprising,” recently released by Just Vision (and for which I had the honor of helping do research). Ayesh’s presence linked the previous generation of female Palestinian leadership with the new, young female leadership of the current popular struggle. As the march continued, however, a group of men eventually passed the front line of women—perhaps no less symbolic.
On a hill overlooking the village’s spring, the demonstrators gathered to hear speeches from various prominent figures in attendance. The popular struggle in Nabi Saleh began when settlers from the adjacent settlement of Halamish seized the spring and prevented the village’s residents from reaching it.
As the speeches went on, a number of Palestinian youths engaged in small skirmishes with the soldiers guarding the spring. The soldiers fired tear gas at the youths, and at the rally, which was a considerable distance away. Following the barrage of tear gas, the demonstrators retreated into the village, where they regrouped.
The demonstrators then...Read More