Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian demonstrations across the occupied West Bank on Friday, leaving several Palestinians injured and dozens suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation.
Israeli forces opened fire with tear gas canisters, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrations against the Israeli separation wall taking place in Bilin and Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, and in al-Masara, near Bethlehem.
Two Palestinians were injured and dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation in the protest in Bilin.
Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters as they neared the Israeli separation wall, which cuts through the village of Bilin.
Photographers Mohammad Yassin, 21, and AbdulKadir Abu Rahma, 19, were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets in the back and foot respectively.
Dozens of other demonstrators suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation as a result of large numbers of canisters fired by Israeli forces on protesting crowds. Some of the agricultural lands nearby also caught fire from the fired tear gas canisters.
Protesters raised Palestinian flags, chanted songs for unity and called for the release of all Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli jails. They also voiced their solidarity with Palestinians under administrative detention, an Israeli policy that can lead to indefinite detentions of Palestinian prisoners without charge or trial.
Since 2005, Bilin villagers have protested on a weekly basis against the Israeli separation wall that runs through their village on land confiscated from local farmers. Previous protests by Bilin activists have forced the Israeli authorities to re-route the wall, but large chunks of the village lands remain inaccessible to residents because of the route.
In al-Masara, near Bethlehem, four Palestinians were injured in clashes after Israeli forces opened fire on protests against the separation wall there.
Protesters had marched toward the wall in order to mark the 7th anniversary of the weekly protests in the village, which is intersected by the Israeli barrier.
Mahmoud Aladdin, Hamza Zahran, Mohammad al-Herimi and an unnamed international activist were injured.
Israeli forces also dispersed demonstrators in Nabi Saleh near Ramallah, and dozens of protestors there suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation.
In Nabi Saleh, Palestinian demonstrators had initially marched toward the village lands that are currently threatened with confiscation by Israeli forces in order to build a section of the separation wall.
As protesters neared the barrier, Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators.
Dozens of international activists participated in the demonstration, including a French solidarity group.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice called on Israel to stop construction of the separation wall within the occupied West Bank.
When completed, 85 percent of the wall will run inside the West Bank.
(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)