Israeli forces open fire on Apartheid Wall protestors, wounding five

Moving towards the fence despite tear gas thrown by Israeli soldiers (Photo: ISM, 2003)

Today activists from the International Solidarity Movement, working with local Palestinians and Israelis succeeded in opening a small but symbolic hole in the Wall of Apartheid in the village of Anin, west of the city of Jenin.

Israeli soldiers waiting for marchers to approach (Photo: ISM, 2003)

The Israeli Occupation Forces responded by opening fire with rubber bullets on members of the International Solidarity Movement who were taking part in a non-violent demonstration against the Israeli Apartheid Wall [termed the “security fence” by the Israeli authorities].

Five ISM activists were injured by the rubber bullets fired at close range by the IOF from behind the fence the activists were attempting to tear down. Two were hospitalised. Several other Israeli and ISM activists were injured by sound grenades exploding in close proximity, or by tear gas canisters fired directly at their bodies.

Thomas is injured (Photo: ISM, 2003)

The demonstration was called by local Palestinians from Anin and the surrounding villages, of whom approximately 250-300 participated together with 50 ISM and 30 Israeli activists. The goal of the demonstration was to symbolically force open the gate in the Apartheid Wall, which separates the village of Anin from over 11,000 dunams/2,750 acres of its land.

(Photo: ISM, 2003)

Activists withstood tear gas and rubber bullets long enough to force open the gate. The activists had intended to also pull down segments of the fence. However, due to the injuries the group sustained this action had to be aborted.

The officially stated reason for building the ’security fence’ is to prevent the unauthorised passage of Palestinians out of the West Bank. However, the route of the so-called ’security fence’ does not follow the internationally recognised pre-1967 borders of the State of Israel. The Israeli authorities refuse to publish the official path of their ’security fence’.

Palestinian villagers talk to soldiers behind barbed wire (Photo: ISM, 2003)

However, research carried out by the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, the planned route for the fence will isolate a number of Palestinian villages and rob a great many more of their farmland. Thereby, enabling the acquisition of even more Palestinian land by the Israeli state. B’Tselem estimates that the Apartheid Wall will cause direct harm to at least 210,000 Palestinians in 67 cities, towns and villages.

The action in Anin is one of many planned by Palestinians living in the affected areas to oppose this internationally condemned injustice being perpetrated on the long suffering Palestinian people in the name of security.

More information:

Anin village council head (Abu Antar): +972-52-351-517, ISM Media Office: +972-2-277-4602, Huwaida: +972-67-473-308