Today for the second time this week internationals from Palestine Solidarity Project and Israeli activists of the anarchists against the wall initiative joined the people of Dhahariya to open the roadblock that prohibits them from accessing the main road to Hebron and the rest of Palestine. The same people first opened the roadblock on May 3rd, but after two days it was closed by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Today, the people were determined to open it again. Nearly 100 Palestinians and 10 Israeli and international activists pushed, pulled, and rolled 4 large cement blocks out of the path of the road, which has been blocked since the early 1990's.
Activists cheered as the first taxi drove through walked down the road with it towards the highway where one Israeli military jeep was waiting. Though the taxi was forced at that time to turn around, the people stayed in the street, chanting 'la, la, ichtilal' ('no, no, occupation').
When two more jeeps arrived the demonstrators all sat on the ground, illustrating that the action was completely non-violent. As they stood up to leave, still chanting, the Israeli soldiers attacked.
Today, a army car with 5 reservists soldiers with a captain commander arrived where the people dismantled the road block. They attacked brutally the activists who have not retreated. The officer in charge brutally attacked one Israeli activist, B, ramming the muzzle of his gun into the activist's chest, knocking him to the ground and immediately causing a large bruise on his chest. Soldiers then shot in the air with live ammunition and chased the Palestinians, beating them from behind as they moved back behind the newly opened roadblock. The Israeli and international activists attempted to make a buffer between the soldiers and the Palestinians and were successful; the soldiers then turned on them.
The soldiers never gave any particular orders, they simply went on a rampage. One Israeli activist, M, was repeatedly kicked and chased around the area by a soldier. An international activist was choked, by the same commanding officer who attacked B, as she was filming and another Israeli activist was thrown against a car and also choked.
After kicking, punching and beating the Israeli and international activists with their guns, they focused on M. Once again, the commanding officer grabbed him and threw him to the ground where he was viciously kicked and beaten. As other Israeli and international activists attempted to protect him, they, too, were punched and pushed to the ground. The soldiers then grabbed M by his throat, twisted his arm behind his back, slammed him into the side of the jeep and then threw him into the back of the jeep, kidnapping him. Israeli soldiers have no jurisdiction over other Israeli citizens, it was completely illegal for them to take the Israeli activist. Afraid of what the soldiers intended to do with M, some Israeli activists followed the jeep in their car. M was taken to the nearby settlement Bet Haggai. The soldiers told the guards not to let the trailing Israeli car in, and drove M into the settlement. He was then let go and the soldiers sped away.
Meanwhile, the soldiers prevented a Red Crescent Ambulance from approaching the activists who had been injured. Basem 'Teed, 23, and Nidal Fasfoos, 15, were injured by being rammed in the chest and kidneys with the soldiers' rifles. People present were forced to carry them to the medics. The newly opened roadblock was immediately put to good use when another ambulance was able to approach the injured people from the other side. Both men were taken to the hospital in Hebron. The Israeli activist, B, was also treated and potentially has cracked ribs and internal bleeding. He went to the hospital in Tel Aviv. In all, 5 Palestinians, were injured and 2 Israeli activists were injured. Though the soldiers were excessively violent, the people left with high spirits, having successfully re-opened the roadblock.
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The opening of the road block today differed from the previously three opened last week or so, where no physical confrontation with state force occurred. It was also in parallel to the demand of the US to dismantle most of the road blocks (Israel already promised to do along the last months.... It was also when the brutality of police against students on strike demonstrated was infuriating the media... and the brutality of the officer and soldiers against Israeli activists was without precedent. Thus, all the main media channels including the TV ones included it in their news programs.
This forced the authorities to promise that there will be investigation.