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Breaking: Harsh Israeli response to protest in Palestinian village

al-Walaje, occupied West Bank – A group of about 30 international, Palestinian and Israeli demonstrators demonstrated in front of Israeli construction equipment Sunday morning, in an effort to prevent the uprooting of olive trees to make way for the continued construction of the separate wall that is to surround this village located just south of Jerusalem.

Tear gas being fired into Palestinian home (Photo: Joseph Dana)

Within 10 minutes of the start of the demonstrations, 1 Palestinian, 2 Internationals and 3 Israelis were arrested. Israeli protestors then negotiated with the army commander for their release. The commander responded to one Israeli by saying: “I’m keeping you here as long as I can so that one rock is thrown and then I can fuck up the village.”

As soon as he said that, one Palestinian from the village who was not part of the protest, started throwing stones, at which point the Israeli soldiers invaded the village, using tear gas. The nonviolent protestors pleaded with the Palestinians to stop throwing stones, but to no avail – they then decided to call off their nonviolent demonstration and sought refuge from the tear gas.

I’m dictating this from inside a Palestinian house with other international reporters, as tear gas is being shot into the house.

As soon as nonviolent demonstrators left, IDF soldiers took over positions in the village and began shooting tear gas as well as what some Israeli demonstrators claim is live ammunition. At this point, Mertz party council member Mossi Raz is trying to reach the West Bank southern commander for confirmation that live ammunition is being fired.

As this was being dictated the army has blocked the exit to the village and is arresting the internationals trying to leave. (12:21pm local time)

Walaje is normally a quiet village known for non-violent demonstrations, which started two years ago in connection with construction of the separation wall there, which is slated to encircle the entire village.

Settlement Wall in al-Walaje (Photo: Mairav Zonszein)

Report as dictated to, and with contributions by, Mairav Zonszein.

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    1. Deïr Yassin

      Mazin Qumsiyeh giving a moral and historical lesson to some IDF-soldiers of whom many just look like kids, after the repression of demonstrations in Walaja last spring:

      Reply to Comment
    2. Last friday during the peaceful protest in Kufr Qadum, a Dutch streetband was present. The IDF used tear gas just to intimidate the crowd, it didn’t seem to serve any other purpose. No stones, just music and dancing.
      You would expect at least some reaction from the Dutch government this time. But it was not news worthy. Only when Israel finally breaks down a fence after 4 years it is news. Palestinian casualties don’t exist, only Palestinian responses are news, as isolated items of genetically determined terror.

      Reply to Comment
    3. The initial ‘IDF’ in the headline is replaced with ‘Israeli’. Telling…

      Reply to Comment
    4. Watcher465

      The olive branch has always been a symbol of peace. The Israelis destroy Palestinian olive trees at every opportunity. Now that’s Telling.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Sylvia

      Today the West bank activists ARE the story. It’s in every newspaper in Europe that David Norris, the first openly gay Ireland presidential hopeful, has
      pulled out of the race amid revelations that he wrote a letter to an Israeli
      Court seeking clemency on behalf of Israeli radical left-wing activist in the
      West Bank Ezra Nawi, 59, who was convicted of sodomy of a 15 year old
      Palestinian boy in 1992.
      Nawi had been arrested following a complaint by the
      boy’s parents.
      I say this on this thread because Nawi is Dana’s comrade from “Ta’yush” and I certainly would like to read his reaction.
      The big winners are the Irish people. Can one imagine having for President someone who covered up for a friend convicted of statutory rape of a minor, while running on a human rights and equality platform?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Sylvia,

      This comment is in no way relevant to the topic of this post or the post itself. I am not going to delete it, so you will not run around like a headless chicken screaming that your comment was deleted.

      I have known Ezra Nawi for the past four years and his tireless work on behalf of the rights of Palestinians has been a marvel to witness. I can’t comment on his personal life, nor it is my place too.

      The comment section is not your attack platform. Stay on topic and write clearly or your comments will be deleting. I have had to say this to you many times.

      Reply to Comment
    7. MC

      Regarding David Norris – I agree it is utterly off message and a pointless input. But, as an Irish person, I wanted Norris as our president. He has a lot to give. Apologies if I am now also diverting the topic too far, feel free to delete.
      Great piece also – having recently watched the escalation of violence after settlers burned trees in Burin, it is important that there are voices reporting from inside.

      Reply to Comment