Palestinian demonstrations intended to be peaceful met with Israeli teargas, stun grenades and sometimes live ammunition
By Rory McCarthy in Bil'in
guardian.co.uk, Monday 27 April 2009
"It began calmly enough with a march down the high street after midday prayers at the mosque. Palestinian villagers were surrounded by dozens of foreigners singing and waving flags. They turned and headed out to the olive-tree fields and up towards the broad path of Israel's West Bank barrier. There, behind a concrete hilltop bunker, the Israeli soldiers looked down on them.
The crowd approached the barrier, still singing. One man flew a paper kite shaped as a plane. "This land is a closed military zone," an Israeli soldier shouted in flawless Arabic over a loudspeaker. "You are not allowed near the wall." Then the soldiers fired a barrage of teargas.
It has been like this every Friday in the village of Bil'in for more than four years – the most persistent popular demonstration against Israel's vast steel and concrete barrier. It is a protest founded on non-violence that is spreading to other West Bank villages. But it has become increasingly dangerous.
On April 17, on the hillside at Bil'in, a Palestinian named Basem Abu Rahmeh, 31, was shot with a high-velocity Israeli teargas canister that sliced a hole into his chest, caused massive internal bleeding and quickly killed him......."