Non-violent protesters holding their weekly demonstration against the apartheid wall in the West Bank have once again been dispersed by Israeli soldiers.
Around 50 Palestinian, Israeli, and foreign activists who marched to the village of Al-Ma’sara, near Beth Lehm (Bethlehem), in the southern West Bank, were attacked by Israeli soldiers firing tear-gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, and sound bombs on Friday.
The attack was launched despite the fact that the activists were holding their hands up to show their non-violent intension to the soldiers, local popular committee spokesman Mahmoud Zwahra said.
But the imprisonment of local leaders and the frequent night raids on the village have only strengthened the people’s resolve to protest against the illegal occupation, Zwahra added.
The apartheid wall cuts villagers off from vast stretches of their land occupied by the Israelis, where settlements are being constructed illegally.
Simultaneous protests in Bil’in and an-Nabi Saleh, in the Ramallah district, were also attacked with tear-gas grenades, sound bombs, and rubber-coated steel bullets.
The local popular committee said the activists had called for national unity, the release of prisoners, and a halt to construction of illegal settlements and the apartheid wall, which has annexed 60 percent of their village land.
The organizers said the demonstrators were blocked from marching toward the apartheid wall by a barbed wire fence erected by Israeli forces, which declared the area a closed military zone, and were chased back to the village.