Video: Palestinian woman “takes over” Israeli military vehicle at Ofer protest for hunger strikers

This video shows a Palestinian woman mounting an Israeli military vehicle amid protests near Ofer Prison in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on 1 May, in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners. The video also shows Israeli occupation forces attacking female protestors with pepper spray directed into their eyes from close range as they lie on the ground.

Ten women and a man required medical treatment, according to witnesses, after being hit with pepper spray, beating and rubber-coated steel bullets.

The protests at Ofer, which continued today, came as two human rights organizations issued urgent appeals for intervention on behalf of Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, two Palestinian prisoners whom doctors say are at immediate risk of death after more than two months without food.

Both men are being held by Israel without charge or trial and, according to Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, being denied urgently needed medical treatment. Some 2000 Palestinian prisoners have been on hunger strike since 17 April.

Electronic Intifada blogger Linah Alsaafin was among those pepper-sprayed in the face:

Protestors forced back from attempt to reach prison gate

The following text, accompanying this video, is provided by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee:

Video: Palestinian Protesters Took Over Military Vehicle; Tried Breaking Into Ofer Prison

Protester holding a Palestinian flag scaled an Israeli military water-cannon yesterday, in solidarity with the prisoners’ hunger strike. Others managed to breach the prison fence.

After hours of clashes between Israeli Border Police officers and some 200 protesters who demonstrated in support of the Palestinian political prisoners’ hunger strike yesterday, a group of women marched towards the checkpoint at the entrance to the Israeli Ofer prison and military court.

After the women, chanting and waving flags, were prevented by the Israeli forces from reaching the gate, one activist managed to climb over the military water cannon. While waving the Palestinian flag atop the vehicle, the woman effectively neutralized it for long minutes.

As soldiers tried to arrest the woman, a group of activists gathered around her to prevent her detention. Despite being attacked with blows and large amounts of pepper-spray, the activists managed to trample the arrest.

At least ten women and a man required medical treatment following the event. More than ten others were injured by rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas projectiles shot directly at them during the four hours of the demonstration, including an elderly woman and a 70 year-old man who was shot in both legs.

Meanwhile, another group of demonstrators who tried to enter the prison itself, manged to breach prison’s fence using bolt cutters. They were eventually forced to retreat.

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Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.