Saturday, December 24, 2011
Christmas in Bil'in
Two Days before Christmas Day, the village of Bil'in shows some holiday spirit. A few dozen residents, joined by Israeli and International activists, joined the weekly demonstration against the Wall and settlements.
With a number of protesters dresses as Santa Claus, the merry march proceeded from the center of the village towards the separation Wall, ringing bells and chanting slogans for Palestinian independence. Upon reaching the Abu Lamon grove, which has been recently returned to the village following a long popular and legal campaign, some protesters were able to cross the barbed wire which surrounds the Wall.
For the battalion of soldiers, this apparently gave a signal for the opening salvo. The army began instantly shooting large amounts of tear-gas canisters, some directly at protesters in breach of army's own open fire regulations.
This manner of direct shooting caused the death of Mustafa Tamimi in Nabi Saleh three weeks ago, as well as the death of Bassem Abu Rahma in Bi'lin. Some clashes then erupted near the Western end of the Wall, between local youth and the army, luckily not ending in any severe injuries.
A similar demonstration was also held in the neighboring village of Ni'ilin, where it also ended relatively peacefully, with no injuries or arrests recorded.