Saturday, January 03, 2009

West Bank Reaction.....

Across the West Bank, popular calls for unity and an end to the massacre in Gaza
As the bombing continued in Gaza for the seventh straight day, massive demonstrations took place all across the West Bank yesterday, with tens of thousands of people condemning the massacres that are being carried out by Occupation forces. From Hebron to Jenin, people took to the streets to demonstrate their solidarity with the people in Gaza, and to call for unity amongst all Palestinians, urging the people to come together in this time of crisis.

In Qalqilya district, one youth from the village of Jayyous was hit in the leg by a live bullet, while five others were wounded by rubber bullets in different parts of their bodies. The people of Jayyous began their demonstration after the Friday prayer, as members of the different segments of the community came together in a show of unity and collective action. The demonstrators marched from the mosque in the centre of the village, to the south gate of the Apartheid Wall. They shouted slogans condemning the Occupation, and several youth managed to burn the gate and destroy part of the Wall. As they arrived at the south gate, Occupation forces immediately began firing a barrage of sound bombs, tear gas, rubber bullets and live bullets at the protestors. Clashes continued throughout the night and into the morning, with forces coming into the village and continuing their onslaught of tear gas and bullets.

In Hebron district, similar events occurred, as seven Palestinians, including two journalists, were injured by bullets and tear gas during demonstrations in Hebron city. Several people in different areas of the Hebron district were also beaten by Occupation forces during the confrontations.

Five more Palestinians were injured in the village of Bani Na’im, which is in the east of Hebron district. Medical sources in both al Mizan and al Ahli hospitals said that Mohammad Abed Rabo Manasrah, Mustafa Mohammad Manasrah and Mohammad Tala Manasrah were all injured by live bullets fired by Occupation forces. Doctors were forced to perform emergency surgery on each of the three victims. Additionally, two other youth from Bani Na’im, Ibrahim Mohanad Barakat, 12 years old, and Ayman Viab al Hajouj, 11 years old, were taken to a local hospital for treatment of injuries from rubber bullets.

Also in Hebron district, in the village of Beit Omar, Salah Saleh al Alama, 24 years old, was wounded in the foot by shrapnel from a live bullet. Saleh Mohammad Khalil, Mohammad Bahjat Abu Sara and Ahmad Mohammad Khalil were also injured, and were taken to the district hospital for medical treatment. Even after the demonstration in Beit Omar ended, Occupation forces continued to fire tear gas and sound bombs at people’s houses, and launched raids on the several homes. As was the case in Jayyous, the village endured clashes with Occupation forces into the early hours of the morning.

Meanwhile, in Nablus district, thousands of Palestinians engaged in demonstrations inside Nablus city, as well as its surrounding villages, with representatives from political parties leading some of the protests. Participants called on the political parties to work for national unity amongst all spectrums of Palestinian society. Five people in Nablus district suffered from breathing difficulties as a result of the tear gas that was fired at demonstrators, while one settler also tried to run over a Palestinian from the village of Huwwara, south of the city. Furthermore, in the village of Azira Shamalya, north of Nablus city, Occupation forces attacked villagers around dawn, as they stormed the village and opened fire with tear gas and sound bombs.

In Jenin district, hundreds of people participated in demonstrations with protestors shouting for the immediate end to all aggression on Gaza, and asking for our people in Palestine to unite in the face of this violence. They called for the Arab countries to move immediately to put pressure on the Security Council to adopt a resolution to unconditionally condemn all forms of aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip, without any conditions.

A similar initiative took place in Jericho, where another mass demonstration occurred condemning the continuous aggression on the Gaza Strip. The demonstration included the participation of representatives of all factions and forces of the PLO, as well as Kamil Hamid, the Governor of Jericho and the Jordan Valley, lawyer Hassan Saleh, the head of the Jericho municipality, and religious representatives from both the Muslim and Christian communities.

In Ramallah, meanwhile, protestors took to the streets once again, as thousands of Palestinian flags were carried throughout the city from al Manara towards Qalandiya checkpoint. The participants called for national unity and national dialogue. Halfway to Qalandiya, PNA 'security' forces broke down the march to stop the protestors from clashing with the Occupation forces.

In the village of Ni’lin, Occupation forces fired a barrage of rubber and live bullets, as well as tear gas and sound bombs against protestors who were participating in the village’s weekly demonstration against the Wall. The demonstrators responded by throwing stones at the Occupation forces, but no injuries were reported.

In Bil’in village, demonstrators shouted national slogans that expressed their solidarity with our people in Gaza. Some witnesses reported that Occupation forces used a new weapon against them, called the “shouting weapon.” This weapon makes a very high-pitched sound that harms the ears and makes those who hear it lose their balance. Witnesses also reported that some people suffered from difficulty breathing due to the tear gas. Five youth, Mohammad Yassin, Abdullah Ahmad Yassin, Abdullah Mohammad Yassin, Mohammad Ahmad Hamad and Hamza Suleiman Yassin, were injured by rubber bullets, and received medical attention in al Sheikh Zayid hospital in Ramallah city.

Finally, in Bethlehem district, worshippers said prayers for the souls of the martyrs who have fallen in the Occupation’s aggression against Gaza. After the prayers ended, the people walked in several marches, with the biggest one being in Omar bin Al Khattab mosque, toward the Nativity Church. All of them condemned the massacres against our people in Gaza, and called for the international community to uphold its responsibility to protect the rights of the Palestinian people.

In their attempts to quell the mass uprisings across the West Bank, Occupation forces imposed closures on several towns and villages. For instance, Bethlehem district was placed under siege, with several checkpoints being established in the early hours of the morning at the main entrances of many towns and villages.

A comprehensive closure was also placed on Jerusalem since Thursday morning, as Occupation forces took the extreme measure of deploying thousands of members of the so-called “border police” to virtually shut down the old city and to patrol the Al Aqsa mosque. They prevented anyone under the age of fifty from entering the old city and praying at Al Aqsa. Additional checkpoints were also established along the main roads leading to Jerusalem.

In the face of this mounting repression, however, the Palestinian people refuse to back down. The mass mobilization all across the West Bank, and the growing unity amongst the people is only leading to stronger collective action and a sustained resistance movement. Palestinians will not stand idle as the massacres continue in Gaza, and their acts of solidarity will not be suppressed.


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