JAYOUS, WEST BANK: Military Turns Peaceful Protest into Stone Throwing Near "The Security Wall"

December 31, 2002
JAYOUS, WEST BANK: Military Turns Peaceful Protest
into Stone Throwing Near "The Security Wall"

by Jerry Levin

A nonviolent demonstration in a West Bank town turned
to stone throwing by angry Palestinian boys when
Israeli border police moved in on the demonstrators.
The planned procession of 300 Palestinians and
internationals, including CPTers, began in a
schoolyard in the northern West Bank town of Jayous.
The group walked peacefully toward what Israel terms
the "Security Wall" and Palestinians call the "Wall of
Hate" -- the wall Israel is building to separate the
West Bank from Israel.

Three Israeli border policemen and three armed civil
security guards from a local settlement halted the
procession when it was a third of the way to the wall.
After a brief but polite discussion, the procession
was allowed to continue for another third of the way
where it was stopped again.

This time the group learned that it could proceed in
half an hour; however, 20 minutes later, an Israeli
military jeep and a police jeep rolled down on the
group of protesters from behind. The two vehicles
started to push through the people to the front of the
crowd. When they had almost reached the front, two
soldiers there who were brandishing batons climbed out
of a jeep and walked through the group to their
comrades. After some seconds of angry shouting, they
fired off a percussion grenade. Then they fired four
tear gas canisters at the group.

The demonstrators began running back up the hill to
escape the tear gas. The Israeli soldiers fired shots.
Frustrated, angry Palestinian boys threw and slung
stones back down the hill at the soldiers, policemen,
and guards. Older Palestinian men tried to get the
boys to stop but did not succeed.

Israeli troops answered the stones with intermittent
retaliatory gunfire for half an hour. Reportedly, one
Palestinian was wounded, and one Palestinian was
arrested. As the demonstrators dispersed, Israeli
soldiers and police imposed a curfew on the
Palestinian residents in the area.

The "Security Wall," when completed, will run the
length of the West Bank. In most areas it will be
built on the Palestinian side of the Green Line, which
since 1967 has marked the border between the West Bank
and Israel. Several Israel settlements and 35,000
dunams (a dunam is approximately ¼ of an acre) of
Palestinian fields and orchards in the Qalqilia
district will be confiscated and unilaterally absorbed
into neighboring Israeli settlements. As a result,
considerable income will eventually be lost to the
already hard-pressed Palestinian communities being
forcibly detached.