8 April, 2011
This Friday (8/4/11) Nabi Saleh demonstration against the settlements and occupation was joined by a group of West Bank March 15 activists and was larger than usual. Some 80 people marched through the village’s main street and then crossed into the fields to reach the spring and land being stolen and threatened by settlers. This turn to the fields also helped the protesters avoiding being fired at by the Israeli soldiers who awaited them down the street. Even before the marchers could reach the village’s main road, Israeli soldiers came to stop them, throwing stun and tear gas grenades and shooting rubber-coated metal bullets at a non-violent protest. This, however, did not deter the protesters, who kept standing in front of the soldiers in defiance. The soldiers than turned to violently arresting two Palestinian protesters and attempting to arrest a third one.
After the soldiers left the fields with the arrested, protesters regathered and managed to cross the main road and into the hill that overlooks the village’s spring. The army was too slow to respond but when it did, it attacked the protesters, shooting tear gas canisters at them, as they moved further away. The protesters than marched back through the village and into its center. During this time the army had already swarmed the village, taking over roofs, throwing tear gas and stun grenades, and arresting four Palestinian by-standers. When the peaceful march reached the village’s center, two Israeli supporters — who, according to the army, have violated a closed military zone order — were also arrested. A third was detained shortly.
Three of the Palestinian arrestees have already been released. The two Israelis are also likely to be released this evening. The three other Palestinians may be taken to Ofer military prison, where they will be subjected to a harsh military legal system, specifically designated for a prolonged imprisonment of Palestinians without a viable trial.