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PHOTOS: Israeli army arrests Palestinian activist at nonviolent demonstration

At one of the most consistently peaceful weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation, soldiers arrest a Palestinian activist in front of his three-year-old twin sons.

Israeli forces arrest Mohammad Brijiah on the pretext that he was “behaving violently” against the soldiers at a weekly demonstration against the Israeli separation barrier, Al Ma’sara, West Bank, September 6, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Friday, September 6, Israeli forces arrested Palestinian activist Mohammad Brijiah at the weekly demonstration against the separation wall in the West Bank village of Al Ma’sara. Brijiah’s twin three-year-old sons , who were present at the demonstration, watched helplessly as soldiers took their father away. He will be held until the morning of Sunday, September 8 when he will face a military court hearing at Gush Etzion prison.

As is usual in this weekly demonstration, members of the Al Ma’sara community, accompanied by Israeli and international solidarity activists, marched from their village toward agricultural lands that will be cut off if the separation barrier is built as planned. The demonstration in Al Ma’sara, though modest in size, is one of the most consistently peaceful demonstrations in the West Bank, and children and families often participate. Episodes of stone-throwing are extremely rare, though Israeli forces still occasionally respond to the march with sounds bombs, tear gas, and as this day, arrests of activists. This week, as about 30 marchers entered the main road from the village, soldiers blocked their path and pushed them back using riot shields. Brijiah verbally confronted soldiers who responded by hitting him with their shields. When Brijiah pushed back against the shields, he was arrested.

According to Maan News, an Israeli military spokesperson claimed that Brijiah was taken into custody because he was “behaving violently” toward soldiers. The spokesperson also claimed that Israeli forces fired riot dispersal means, which this reporter observed firsthand was simply untrue on this particular day. It would seem that the military felt the need to exaggerate the actions of its own forces as well as Brijiah’s behavior in order to justify their actions. Brijiah’s arrest follows a pattern of arrests and harassment of nonviolent protesters by the Israeli military.

Palestinian activist Mohammad Brijiah and his twin three-year-old sons confront Israeli forces blocking the road from their West Bank village of Al Ma’sara during a weekly demonstration against the separation barrier, September 6, 2013. If built as planned, the wall would cut off the village from its agricultural lands.


Mohammad Brijiah verbally confronts the Israeli soldiers blocking the path of the weekly march in the West Bank village of Al Ma’sara, September 6, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)


Israeli soldiers hit Mohammad Brijiah with their riot shields during the weekly demonstration against the separation barrier in Al Ma’sara, West Bank, September 6, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)



Mohammad Brijiah pushes back against the riot shields that Israeli soldiers were using to hit him, Al Ma’sara, West Bank, September 6, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)


A Palestinian youth films as Israeli forces take Mohammad Brijiah into custody at the weekly demonstration in Al Ma’sara, West Bank, September 6, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)


Yarob Brijiah, age 3, remains with family members at the demonstration after his father Mohammad was arrested by Israeli forces, Al Ma’sara, West Bank, September 6, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)


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    1. Vadim

      The guy is wearing a DFLP t-shirt. Please note the logo, which speaks highly of his desire to peacefully coexist.

      Why would anyone ever bring his 3 year old son to a protest? I mean it does look very impressive in photos, but that can’t possible be the reason…

      Reply to Comment
      • His three year olds are there because his family lives there. He is politically active for their future. Young children were also among those in some of the more significant American Civil Rights protests in the South.

        As to the motto, please translate for us.

        Reply to Comment
        • Vadim

          Nothing to translate. I was referring to the image of the entire Israel.

          Regarding his sons, I claim two things:
          1. It’s a widespread cynical use, the look good on photographs. That’s the real reason to bring them.
          2. In bringing them he not really afraid of the brutal IDF soldiers.

          Reply to Comment
          • In bringing them, the young IDF soldiers may be less inclined to overstep. The other point, of course, is families live here.

            Reply to Comment
          • Vadim

            Would you bring your 3 year old sons hoping they would protect you from soldiers?!

            Let me just remind you that these are bloodthirsty, trigger happy, racist and brutal thugs.

            There are at least 3 people photographing the event. How can’t you see that it’s all just a show?

            Reply to Comment
    2. That is one very young looking soldier whose shield Brijiah is touching/pushing.

      Reply to Comment
    3. idf_sergeant

      The intention was to provoke a response that would end up on film and/or video.

      He succeeded.
      So, what’s the problem?

      Reply to Comment
      • Even under your terms, the problem is the provoked response. Learn not to be provoked without better cause; but that is hard to do with such young soldiers.

        Southern police chiefs in the American South learned this. Once they saw their actions on national tv, they scaled back their responses, claiming they were the nonviolent ones. Worked for a time, too.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Clare

      DFLP = Democratic front for the liberation of Palestine. until 1999 in the American list of terror organizations, Hardly a non-violence human rights group. Not that a t-shirt can justify violence or an infringement of the right to peacefully protest (if that is the cas), but it is not irrelevant to understand the situation and the larger picture. the organization was involved in the past in deadly attacks against Israeli citizens. The truly sad part is that instead of working towards a solution, the state of Israel sends its youngsters to “contain” or “manage” an ongoing conflict and continue an immoral and unjust occupation.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        The truly sad part is that there is no solution.

        Israel won’t ever grant Right of Return to 5 000 000 (that’s right, five million) Palestinian refugees, for obvious reasons.

        “Pro-Palestinian” (Palestinian Nationalist, “grassroot”, etc.) groups, for equally obvious reasons, won’t ever agree to accept anything less. Basically, any Palestinian leader who agrees to terms similar to those Arafat had declined, automatically becomes a legitimate target and won’t remain among the living for too long.

        Reply to Comment
    5. rsgengland

      I would like to apologize to all the press and “Israeli and foreign activists” for the IDF spoiling your great day out.
      The self control of the soldiers prevented you all from getting those rousing pictures that so inspire and excite you, of stone throwing protesters [non violent of course], confronting armed soldiers performing crowd control.
      My suggestion is that you try Syria or Egypt or Lebanon for those really action packed shots.
      You will get to see plenty of really violent action there.
      My guess though is that you would get find that to dangerous; you might actually get hurt or worse if you went there!!!!!!

      Reply to Comment
    6. The Trespasser

      The DFLP website is particularly worthy.

      “Zionist bands expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinian to neighboring countries, where they settled in improvised refugee camps in history’s worst humanitarian tragedy. In their place came vandalizing droves of Zionist from all over the world to live in the former residents’ houses and to snatch their lands, as the astonished look of the world.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Kimo Sabi

        I don’t see a problem with the DFLP statement… The Zionists took over homes and lands belonging to the Palestinians. No one can argue with that fact.

        Reply to Comment