Friday, December 24, 2010

Beit Ommar Protest Against Karmei Tsur Settlement 12/18/10

Soldiers Occupy House and Attack Demonstrators, Arresting Three Activists
Source: Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP)

On Saturday, December 18th, 2010, a larger than usual number of Israeli and international activists joined Beit Ommar villagers in their demonstration against the continuing encroachment of Karmei Tsur settlers on land belonging to local farmers. Approximately 60 people took part in the high-spirited demonstration, which was accompanied by a group of Israeli drummers. Demonstrators also waved the flags of the various countries that have recognized Palestine’s right to self-determination in the last few weeks.

As the demonstration was starting, a group of ten Israeli soldiers occupied the house of a local family at the southern edge of the village. The terrified family of five was forced into a separate room while the soldiers used their house as a vantage point from which to observe the demonstrators. The soldiers remained in the residence for a total of three hours.

As the protesters approached the fence around the settlement of Karmei Tsur, they were confronted by an additional group of Israeli soldiers and border police. Soldiers repressed the unarmed demonstration with tear gas and stun bomb. One soldier injured themselves while trying to throw a sound bomb. Several high-velocity tear gas canisters, deemed illegal by the Israeli military’s own protocol, were fired at the heads of the demonstrators. One Italian international and two Israeli solidarity activists were arrested by Israeli Forces.

Beit Ommar Protest Against Karmei Tsur Settlement, West Bank, Palestine, 12/18/10: video : Indybay:

"Beit Ommar is a village located in the West Bank about half way between Bethlehem and Hebron. It is currently surrounded by six Israeli settlements. Since 2006 there have been demonstrations organized by the Palestine Solidarity Project against the settlements to protest the the ongoing physical abuse and harassment of Palestinian residents of the village and the loss of their farm land and orchards as a result of the expanding settlements. About two months ago, residents and allies such as Anarchists Against the Wall began demonstrating specifically against the Karmei Tsur settlement. The first attempted march to Karmei Tsur -- to protest against the settlement's security fence that cut off Beit Ommar farmers from their land -- nearly reached the fence before Israeli Defense Force soldiers scrambled and repelled the peaceful march by force. Now, the weekly demonstrations are met by IDF soldiers just on the outskirts of Beit Ommar. On December 18th, 2010, one such march was met with the release of numerous tear gas canisters. Three demonstrators were arrested. Contrary to Israel's own military codes and law, tear gas canisters were fired horizontally at protesters rather than high into the air. It was this type of use of projected high-velocity tear gas canisters that caused Tristan Anderson's critical head injury in the village of Ni'lin in March of 2009 after a protest against the Israeli apartheid wall.

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