Marda: Today, Friday, a demonstration of about 100 people - among them a few Israelis and internationalists - ended basically two minutes after it started, when the soldiers - standing hight above us near the settlement Ariel - shot massive amounts of tear gas on the demonstrators. About ten minutes later, police (Magav) cars entered the heart of the village, and continued to shoot gas, and apparently also rubber bullets and even live ammunition. For about three hours, a small group of youngsters confronted the soldiers above, throwing stones at them, and being attacked again and again with gas, until they came down. But when the demo started, there was absolutely no provocation from the demonstrators - we just started climbing towards the route of the wall when the gas was shot at us. For some time, the whole center of the village was under a mist of gas. One internationalist arrested was later released after she signed a committment not to enter the area for 15 days.
Israeli army shoots live bullets at children in Marda. As villagers in Marda tried to make their way to their fields to do the political prayers ceremony of Friday midday on their land - accompanied by media, internationals, and Israeli peace* activists, tear gas clouded the skies. Four bulldozers that had been uprooting Marda's trees to make way for the "Ariel loop" of the Annexation Wall stopped working as soon as the villagers began their march, a major victory for the day.
Mere minutes into the ascent upwards and only a few hundred meters up the slope, the group, consisting mainly of children. The Israeli soldiers began firing tear gas and sound bombs at the villagers. While a number of soldiers fired from the hill, other military vehicles made their way into the village.
With soldiers in the village and on the hilltops surrounding it, Marda became a village of fear. Tear gas and sound bombs turned into rubber bullets, and the rubber bullets into live ammunition, reportedly fired directly at children. Soldiers shot tear gas towards the mosque and into a sewing factory where dozens of women were working. Four were taken to the hospital for gas inhalation.
Three Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets, one in the stomach, one in the leg, and one in the arm. One Palestinian's thumb was broken when a tear gas canister hit his hand. Others were treated for tear gas inhalation. One international was detained for several hours and taken to Ariel police station, but was later released.
The DCO later claimed that the Israeli army fired only one rubber bullet and no live ammunition, and that a Palestinian had been shooting a Kalachnikov rifle. Villagers and Israelis collected the bullets and casings, however, and they were clearly from M16s, the rifles that the military uses.
Israeli soldiers threatened to return later tonight.
* Slightly edited report of International Women's Peace Service (IWPS) whe nearly never give credit in their reports to the Anarchists Against The Wall who are described by the IWPS as "Israeli peace activists".
--------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 demonstrations - more violence today Author
three demos took place today in Bil'in, Ramadin, and Marda with very little israeli presence. the army is becoming more violent - international, israeli, and palestinian arrests, live bullets and tear gas.
A detailed report on Ramadin, but only facts that were given on Marda and Bil'in
The demo managed to get quite close to the path of the wall. much tear gas was shot, and the use of live bullets as well. the army threw tear gas into houses, to the mosque while people were praying and at one point locked 40 people in an office and threw 2 tear gas canisters in there. at least 2 people fainted from tear gas.
The demo went on for a few hours, one palestinian arrested, and one international woman, who was released later.
About 50 villagers, 10 of the Israeli Anarchists Against The wall initiative, and few internationals started early afternoon a march towards the building site of the separation fence.
The demo didnt manage to leave the village. Just near the last house of the village on the road to the route of the fence, the Israeli army blocked the road with a barbed wire. Two or three minutes after we arrived there, without a warning or demand to disperce, or warning the Israelis we are in a closed zone, the soldiers started shooting at us tear gass canisters.
Just few minutes later the army added the use of a deafning siren as means of dispersal. One israeli who was with the photographers at the front was arrested and later realeased.
As usual, after the army dispersed the nonviolent demonstration, the demonstrators kept advancing and retreating according to the intensity of the tear gass shooting. As usually, the "shabab" youngsters started a protracted battle of attrition with the soldiers along the western fringe of the village. The soldiers used mainly teargas but also rubber coated bullets.
At least one person was injured from a rubber bullet.
Ramadin: the army declared the area a closed military zone that morning, warning the villagers not to get close to the path, and put up a checkpoint on the main road to the village, not letting any cars in.
about 200 palestinians took part in the demo, including many children and some women, there were 5 israelis and one international. the village had some land stolen from them in '48 where Kibutz Lahav now sits, and has a very close by settlement "eshkolot" also sitting on their land. the path of the wall is going to surround the south of Ramadin and take more of their land now.
the demo started towards the path, with at least 70 soldiers present. the villagers held a prayer on the land for about an hour, and then started to get closer to the path, beyond a line of stones the army decided was their non-crossing point. the soldiers then approached and after "negotiation" with the head of the village, the village decided to end the demonstration peacefully and return to the village.