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Day of Military Violence Against Protesters in the West Bank

Bil'in, a small, peaceful village surrounded by hills and valleys, is a Palestinian village that is struggling to exist. It is fighting to safeguard its land, its olive trees, its resources... its liberty. Lying halfway between Yaffa and Jerusalem, Bil'in is among a number of local villages that fall under the governorate of the nearby city of Ramallah. It has a population of 1800 in an area approximately 4000 dunums in size.

Supported by Israeli and international activists, Bil'in residents peacefully demonstrate every Friday in front of the "work-site of shame". And every Friday the Israeli army responds with both physical and psychological violence. Working side-by-side with international and Israeli Activists, the people of Bil'in have managed to achieve the recognition of the Israel High Court, which recently ruled that the route of the Apartheid Wall near in the village is illegal and must be changed.
Four protesters in three different villages were arrested during protests staged across the West Bank today. Over a dozen were injured, including an eleven year-old. Demonstrations in the West Bank villages of Nabi Saleh, Kuffer Qaddum, al-Ma'asrah and Nil'ilin were viciously attacked by the Israeli army today, using disproportional force, causing over a dozen injuries and making arrests. A peaceful protest in the village of Nabi Saleh was attacked with tear-gas from afar today by Israeli soldiers, as protesters tried to march to their lands adjacent to the Jewish-only settlement of Halamish.

Following the attack on the peaceful procession, clashes ensued between soldiers and local youth. The soldiers shot volleys of tear-gas projectiles into the crowd, as well as rubber-coated bullets, causing injuries to at least ten protesters, among them an eleven year-old who was hit by a rubber-coated bullet to the chest and suffers a suspected fracture to the rib. An organizer from the village was hit in the face by a rubber-coated bullet shot from close range and was evacuated to the hospital. Bilal Tamimi, a local cameraman and a volunteer with the B'Tselem Shooting Back documentation project, was arrested by soldiers as he was filming the demonstration. He was blindfolded, cuffed with his hands behind his back and taken to the military base in the adjacent settlement of Halamish. Currently, soldiers have taken over the center of the village and are patrolling its streets. T

he village of Kufer Qaddum, north of Qalqilia, has also seen an attack on the demonstration there today, resulting in three injuries from direct hits by tear-gas projectiles, including one to the head. An American activist and a Palestinian protester in his 30's were arrested by the soldiers and taken to the police station in the Ariel settlement. Shortly after his arrest, the American sent an SMS to one of his friends saying that the soldiers are assaulting him. In the village of al-Ma'asrah, a member of the local poplar committee was arrested by soldiers as he walked back to his home after a very peaceful demonstration in the village. In the village of Ni'ilin, west of Ramallah, soldiers shot tear-gas directly at the protesters as they marched towards the Wall. As clashes evolved, soldiers shot a few rounds of live fire into the air. A demonstration also took place in the village of Bil'in, where a Brazilian activist was evacuated after inhaling tear-gas.

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