Israeli forces injured two Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets, while seven others suffered from severe tear gas inhalation on Friday as Israeli forces suppressed a weekly march in the village of Kafr Qaddum, located in the eastern Qalqiliya district in the northern occupied West Bank.
Coordinator of the popular resistance in the village Murad Shteiwi told Ma’an that Israeli army forces deployed heavily in the village, firing tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters. According to Shteiwi, the injured were treated on the scene by Palestinian medical crews.
Locals and activists participated in the march, while children held signs demanding their right to security and a safe childhood.
Residents of Kafr Qaddum began staging weekly protests in 2011 against land confiscations, as well as the closure of the village’s southern road by Israeli forces. The road, which has been closed for 14 years, is the main route to the nearby city of Nablus, the nearest economic center.
The Israeli army blocked off the road after expanding the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim in 2003, forcing village residents to take a bypass road in order to travel to Nablus, which has extended the travel time to Nablus from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
Hundreds of Palestinians have been detained during the demonstrations since their start in 2011, and at least 84 protesters have been injured by live fire, including 12 children, Shteiwi told Ma’an during a similar protest last year.
Photos of the clashes that broke out in the town of Kafr Qaddum Qalqiliya district between young men & occupation pic.twitter.com/sAK1QviUqg
— Ali Hussein (@Alihussein_2) April 7, 2017
Some 120 others have been detained at demonstrations and were subsequently held in Israeli custody for periods ranging between four and 24 months, Shteiwi said at the time, adding that they had paid fines totaling some 25,000 shekels (approximately $6,488).
Over the course of five years, an elderly protester was killed after suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation, one youth lost his eyesight, and another his ability to speak, he added.
In December, Israeli forces became the focus of international condemnation when Israeli soldiers wearing matching plain clothes and black ski masks detained a seven-year-old Palestinian during a weekly protest in the village.
— The Docterr (@docuterror) April 1, 2017
A video of the incident was taken by a volunteer of B’Tselem and quickly went viral. Rights groups and activists pointed out that the video seemed to show the soldiers using the child as a human shield during clashes.
B’Tselem strongly condemned the incident at the time, saying that “it does not take a lawyer to know that the detention of a seven-year-old child by soldiers, keeping him by their side as they shoot at his friends, is deplorable and utterly unacceptable.”
(Maan News, PC, Social Media)