RAMALLAH — The Israeli forces Friday imposed military closure on the West Bank village of Al-Nabi Saleh to thwart anti-Jewish settlement protest.
Mohammed Al-Tamimi, the spokesman of the Al-Nabi Saleh Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, said that large Israeli forces arrived at the village, to the west of Ramallah, at 4 A.M. and imposed the closure on the village which is home to some 550 resident.
Al-Tamimi said that the Israeli army closed the military checkpoint at the village’s main southern entrance, erected a military checkpoint on the road between the village and Beit Reema and another one between his village and Kufr Ein.
He added that the Israeli soldiers barred international and Israeli peace activists, local and international journalists from entering the village.
According to the spokesman, the Israeli soldiers threatened to take suppressive measures against the residents if the rally was held.
The residents and their supporters organize a weekly protest against the Jewish settlements in the area and the confiscation of the Al-Qawwas Spring and the land around it.
Last December, the Palestinian protestor Mustafa Al-Tamimi died of his wounds after being hit in the face by a tear gas canister during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the village.
The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem said that Israeli security forces deny the right of Palestinians of al-Nabi Saleh to demonstrate against the Jewish settlements and the confiscation of their lands by occupiers.
B’Tselem, the Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, said in a report that “Israel does not recognize the right of residents to demonstrate, and the military refers to any demonstration in the village as a disturbance, even when participants do not throw stones and do not resort to violence.”
The organization said that the “(Israeli) soldiers and Border Police disperse the protests, sometimes even before it leaves the village, and in most cases without the protesters having used violence.”
It added that the Israeli forces prohibit the demonstrators from reaching the site that is the subject of the demonstration — Al-Qawwas Spring and the land around it — and prevent the procession from exiting the village towards the spring.
According to B’Tselem, the army declares the demonstration illegal at the outset, sometimes even before the procession begins. The army also issues an order declaring the entire village a closed military area every Friday, and blocks the roads leading to it. As a result, persons from outside the village are unable to exercise their right to join in the demonstration.
The organization said that the Israeli forces use excessive means to disperse the demonstrations and occurs even when the demonstrators are nonviolent and pose no threat.
It added that the manner in which Israeli security forces are dealing with the weekly demonstrations in al-Nabi Saleh intimidates the villagers and forces them to remain in their houses for many hours, making it impossible for them to lead a normal life. The massive amounts of tear gas fired penetrate the houses close to the main intersection in the village, and the occupants are unable to escape.
B’Tselem said the restrictions on movement in the area every Friday create difficulties for residents of all the nearby villages.
Meanwhile, five Palestinians were injured on early Saturday when Jewish settlers hurled stones at their vehicle near Ramallah, Palestinian sources said.
Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian Authority official monitoring settler activity in the northern West Bank, said that dozens of settlers positioned themselves on the road between the West Bank settlement of Shilo and the nearby Palestinian village of Burqa, hurling stones at a Palestinian-owned vehicle.
Daghlas said that the Israeli security forces were summoned to the scene and began combing the area for suspects, who apparently fled immediately.
Paramedics from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said that the Palestinian passengers sustained light injuries in the incident. They added that the wounded were evacuated to the Ramallah’s governmental hospital for treatment.
Palestinian and Israeli security officials estimated that the “price tag” attacks against Palestinians and their properties were likely to increase in the coming days in the wake of the impeding evacuation of the illegal settlement outpost of Migron.
On Tuesday, the Israeli Supreme Court High Court of Justice held a hearing on the eviction of the outpost’s 50 families, because their homes were built without permits on lands owned by residents of the Palestinian village of Burqa, to the east of Ramallah.