Yesterday was another violent Friday in the village of Nabi Saleh as the weekly protests against settlement expansion continues. As always, the demonstration was met with tear gas, disgusting skunk chemicals and rubber-coated metal bullets. Disregarding cases of suffocation, 20 injuries were reported.
Activists on the ground reported that the army is shooting rubber-coated metal bullets randomly at everyone; activist @tweet_Palestine was shot twice with rubber-coated metal bullets on her back. At the same time, the army continued to break basic human rights laws and even their military firing regulations as they kept firing high-velocity tear gas canisters directly at peaceful demonstrators.
A French activist was hit on the back of her neck with a tear gas canister, and a Dutch activist was also hit by another canister in the waist, he was suspected to have suffered a fracture. After the incident of injuring the French activist, the Israeli army spokespersons Major Peter Lerner, Avital Liebovich, and the official IDFSpokesperson twitter account, all claimed that the French activist was hit with a rock thrown by a Palestinian.
BBC Gaza and West Bank Correspondent, Jon Donnison, tweeted a picture of the French activist being evacuated to be treated. The Israeli army spokespersons Major Peter Lerner and Avital Leibovich attempted to feed the BBC correspondent a lie that the activist was hit with a rock, directly contradicting what activists and journalists who were present at the scene have claimed.
Here are eyewitness accounts from a journalist and an activist:
The army spokespersons maintained their lie throughout the day, even though eyewitnesses contradicted what they said. The spokespersons eventually changed their story when a video exposed their lie, seen below:
Major Peter Lerner later tweeted:
Earlier in the day, Israeli soldiers have harassed journalists and press crews present to cover the demonstration. 2 journalists working for Palestine TV were arrested; other press crews with Palestine Today TV, Al-Quds TV, and Pal Media were harassed and prevented from filming the protest. Bilal Tamimi from Tamimi Press was later harassed and taken aside after he filmed soldiers harassing other journalists. Meanwhile, soldiers were also filmed pushing and kicking B’Tselem volunteer Nariman Tamimi as she attempted to film the injured French activist. Below is a video by Bilal Tamimi which documents the harassment of press crews (00:08 – 06:09) and (06:53 – 07:27) along with the beating and kicking of B’Tselem volunteer Nariman Tamimi (06:09 – 06:53).