Demonstrations Proceed in Pouring Rain Friday, Sheikh Jarrah Demonstrates After Violent Attack Wednesday
Though pouring rain and even hail fell throughout the West Bank yesterday, demonstrations against land confiscation, the Annexation Barrier, and settler expansion in East Jerusalem continued on Friday.
In Nabi Saleh, which has been demonstrating for several weeks against a move by settlers from the nearby Halamish settlement to take over a a spring and other privately-owned Palestinian agricultural land, several dozen residents, along with Israeli and international solidarity activists, again marched from the village towards the land being annexed by the right-wing settlers. They were confronted by Israeli forces, who used tear gas, sound grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets to deter the crowd. The army then invaded the village, using a jeep-mounted tear-gas launcher that shoots 30 canisters of gas at a time, into the built-up area of the village, affecting everyone in their homes. A young man was taken to the hospital with a moderate injury when he was shot in the head with a rubber-coated bullet.
In Ni’lin, several dozen residents continued their weekly protest against the construction of the Annexation Barrier through their agricultural lands. Participants marched from the edge of the village into the olive groves, approaching the combined fence-wall. They were forced back by the Israeli military, who used large amounts of tear gas, including firing the tear gas at houses, affecting people not participating in the demonstration.
Hundreds of residents in Asira Al-Qyblia marched against land confiscation towards Ytzhar settlement, home to some of the most violent settlers in the entire Occupied Territories who have repeatedly destroyed trees belonging to Asira Al-Qyblia residents, and attacked the village and others in the surrounding Nablus District. The march was fired on by the Israeli military with tear gas and sound grenades, though no one was seriously injured.
In Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem, 80 Jewish demonstrators, many dressed in costumes for the coming Purim holiday, joined over 100 Palestinians near the entrance to Sheikh Jarrah to protest the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes and the implantation of right-wing Jewish settlers. A festive demonstration, with chants, drumming, and songs, was held for over an hour as Israeli police and military border police sealed off the street to demonstrators.
Though this demonstration ended without confrontation or violence, it came in the wake of a riot Wednesday night, when dozens of settlers entered the partially occupied Al-Kurd family home to begin preparation for the celebration of Purim, a Jewish holiday held Sunday, February 28, which traditionally includes drinking large amounts of alcohol, making it one of the most dreaded Jewish holidays for Palestinians, who often come under attack by intoxicated settlers on this day.
Sure enough, the settlers in Sheikh Jarrah began attacking the Palestinian residents of the same home. Israeli soldiers arrived and attempted to restrain the crowd but were unsuccessful and soon turned on the growing Palestinian, international, and anti-occupation Jews in the crowd, clubbing and pepper spraying them. Several were injured before the Israeli police escorted the settlers out of the area. One Palestinian man was arrested early in the evening; none of the settlers were detained.