Fourteen Year-Old, Three Israeli Activists and Two Internationals Arrested in Beit Ummar Protest
An 14 year-old Palestinian, two internationals and three Israeli activists were arrested by soldiers during a peaceful demonstration against the illegal Israeli settlement of Karmei Tsur, which is built on Beit Ummar’s land.
The weekly demonstration started at 1:00 pm, when some 30 Palestinians, along with many International and Israeli supporters, marched toward the fence surrounding the settlement.
Around two dozen Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers blocked the march from advancing into villager’s lands isolated inside the settlement, without any access to farmers. The demonstrators then sat on the ground, chanted slogans and made speeches on the injustice of denying Palestinians access to their own land.
After half an hour of peaceful demonstrating, a small group of youth moved closer to the soldiers, who responded by firing sound bombs and attempting to arrest a member of the Beit Ummar National Committee. As he evaded arrest, a boy of 14 and five other activists were taken in his place.
Activists returned to face the soldiers and stand in solidarity with those arrested. They were then repeatedly attacked by volleys of tear gas and chased up the road to the village.
Beit Ummar and the adjacent Saffa valley have recently witnessed a tide in repression by the Israeli army. Last Thursday, November 18th, thirteen Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists were arrested when accompanying farmers to their land in the Saffa valley, near the illegal settlement of Bat Ayn. In the past month, soldiers have raided the village at nights and made arrests up to three times a week. 35 people were arrested in October, and several have been arrested this month.
Karmei Tsur, an illegal settlement according to international law, is one of five built on land belonging to Beit Ummar villagers. The demonstration is held every Saturday and organized by the National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, and the Palestine Solidarity Project.