Ghassan Bannoura – PNN – On Friday, hundreds of protesters marched in the village of Bil’in in the central West Bank to protest the Israeli built wall on villagers’ lands and in a surprising development, dismantled part of it.
Despite an Israeli army blockade on the village since early morning, Israeli and international supporters managed to join the protest. Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad joined the protesters this week, as well as Fatah supporters, who marked the creation of their political party.
As has been the case for the past six years , the protest started after midday prayers at the village mosque ended. As soon as people reached the wall, local youth managed to dismantle parts of it. Israeli soldiers stationed at the nearby gate separating local farmers from their lands fired tear gas.
One person was hit in the face with a tear gas canister and rushed to Ramallah for treatment, and many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
“Today the wall was dismantled in Bil’in, soon it will fall all over the West Bank,” said Ayad Burnat, head of the local branch of the Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, told PNN in a phone interview. “Bil’in will continue its popular resistance.”
The Israeli High Court ruled that the path of the wall in Bil’in is illegal and must be rerouted more than three years ago. The court ruling gave the villagers 800 dunums of the 2300 dunums of land it took to construct the wall and the nearby settlement. The Israeli army still refuses to remove the wall.
While the Bil’in protests are typically nonviolent, in most case they have been meet with force from the army. In September 2009, Israeli soldiers shot and killed Bassem Abu Rahma while he protested.