Exposing Protest Suppression in the West Bank
A Palestinian villager in the West Bank was lightly wounded by explosives planted by the Israel Defense Forces, reports NIF grantee B’Tselem: The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
On August 20, residents of the West Bank village of Kafr Qadum found camouflaged and improvised explosive devices. The explosives had been planted by the roadside on the outskirts of the village where weekly protests take place and one villager Wasim A-Shteiwi was lightly injured in the eye and hand when he examined the device, not knowing it was an explosive.
When contacted by Haaretz, the Israeli army admitted planting the device as a deterrent against the weekly demonstrations and claimed that it consisted of stun grenades. The army refused to reveal under whose orders the explosives were planted and insisted it was planted on open land well away from homes, although B’Tselem documents that it was just 150 meters from a house.
B’Tselem notes that this latest incident is part of well-documented and violent oppression of demonstrations by the Israeli army, which is part of an illegal formal policy of denying West Bank residents the legitimate right to protest.
B’Tselem said, “This is how militias operate, not a regular army. The action reflects the spirit of Israel’s political and military leadership, which conveys total disregard for the lives and personal safety of Palestinians.”
For many years Kafr Qadum residents have been holding weekly protests of the blockade of the main road into their village. The road was blocked to allow for the expansion of the Jewish settlement of Kedumim and cuts the villagers off from the nearby city of Nablus. In protests over the past 13 months alone, two Palestinian boys have been shot in the head, a bulldozer was used to disperse protests which damaged property and nearly crushed demonstrators and the tires of a villager’s vehicle were slashed.
The New Israel Fund will continue to support this vital documentation of human rights violation of suppression in the West Bank.