Ni’lin resistance facing two attacks in a row

Two Israeli soldiers shooting at protesters during last friday's protest in west bank village of Ni'lin 20.03.2015

This Thursday a group of farmers were attacked when they walked on Ni'lin lands closest to the wall. Six soldiers came through the gate of the wall and started chasing them while firing live ammunition into the air. The cause for this was claimed to be that the farmers were trespassing on a "closed military area" which actually is part of Ni'lin land. This is the kind of harassment that Palestinian farmers are subject to on a daily basis; they are unable to reach and work their land and whatever gets farmed runs the risk of being burned or uprooted due to military activity or settlers. This is why we protest against the occupation every Friday in Ni'lin.

This week's demonstration against the apartheid wall in Ni'lin began as usual at 12.30 pm after the Friday mid-day prayer and was attended by international, Israeli and local people who wanted to raise their voices against the occupation.

However, before arriving at the wall, the demonstration was attacked by Israeli soldiers shooting tear gas grenades from their jeeps. More than 90 grenades were fired in less than a minute which lead to huge clouds of gas engulfing the protesters. The wind was blowing in the direction of the village and the soldiers kept firing so much gas that even the people inside Ni'lin were suffering from the effects of the gas. This is a kind of collective punishment that affects the whole village as a result of the lively resistance in Ni'lin.

After the barrage of tear gas came the snipers, shooting rubber coated steel bullets towards the protesters. An Israeli activist and a photographer was injured. They received care on site by an ambulance team from the Red Crescent.

The soldiers were trying to set traps for the protesters in order to be able to make arrests but these attempts were thwarted by lookouts keeping track of the soldiers movement during the demonstration. To counter, these Israeli soldiers tried jamming the signals of cell phones in the area.

This week however the demonstration had planned a surprise for the Israeli soldiers. Separately from the first demonstration a second group was circling from the south west of the village and managed to reach the electric fence by the barrier and started to cut it. The soldiers were caught off-guard by this move and had to leave the first demonstration quickly to deal with this second group. When they arrived to the second group in their jeeps they began firing live ammunition directly towards the protesters who fortunately could hide behind stones so that no one was injured. At another place however a 15 year old boy was hit in the leg by a bullet and was rushed to a hospital for treatment.

For the first time in more than eight months the demonstration was able to push the soldiers away from the village and further towards the barrier, where the demonstration actually is supposed to be held. This is the place were we really want to voice our discontent with the occupation and the apartheid wall.

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