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The army attacks peaceful protest west of Bethlehem and hurts 70 civilians

author Saturday February 23, 2008 04:50author by Ghassan Bannoura - IMEMC News Report post

On Friday, the Israeli army attacked a nonviolent protest organized by the villagers of Al Khader near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. At least 70 civilians were hurt in the attack.

The Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Al Khader organized a protest to demonstrate against the illegal construction of the annexation wall on land owned by village farmers.

Officials and members from The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine DFLP joint the villagers of Al Khader today.

Around 1500 villagers, along with a handful of foreigners, and Israeli peace activists marched toward the nearby Israeli settlers' road which is separating the village from it's farm lands. The protest started after Friday prayers were held at the side of the road.

Two speeches were delivered during the protest; one was by Taysser Khaled, a DFLP leader and Samier Jaber from the Al Khader Popular Committee against the Wall and the coordinator of the Popular Committees in Bethlehem.

Shortly after the speeches the army attacked the protesters and showered them with tear gas. Forty Three suffered badly after inhaling gas.

When protesters ended the march, the army chased the local youth to the village of Al Khader and opened fire at them injuring 18, and assaulted 3 among them 2 children.

Jaber told IMEMC that the protest was peaceful and no one had done any thing to provoke the soldiers, "they attacked use without any reason" Jaber commented.

Earlier on Friday morning the Israeli army attacked a similar protest near Bethlehem and left four civilians including two children injured.

The DFLP, which is also marking its 39th anniversary, reported that Khalid was wounded in his leg as the army fired dozens of concussion grenades and gad bombs.

Referring to the conflict between Hamas and Fateh, Khalid said in a speech during the protest that Hamas must “end its coup in Gaza” and that Hamas and Fateh must initiate dialogue as the occupation is the only beneficiary of this conflict and internal divisions among the Palestinians.

He called for unifying the national efforts in cooperation with Egypt, the Quartet and the United Nations in order to lift the siege imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip and to ensure that the Rafah terminal is opened without any Israeli intervention but only run by the Egyptians and the Palestinians.

Khalid also slammed that negotiations policy conducted by the Palestinian negotiations team with Israel and stated that Israel must recognize the 1967 borders as the borders of the Palestinian state as Israel rejects to talk about borders and is ongoing with the construction and expansion of its settlements in the West Bank in addition to the ongoing construction of the Annexation Wall in order to force the Israeli version and maps of the final status solution.

category bethlehem | non-violent action | news report author email ghassanb at imemc dot org
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