Ramallah – PNN - While most press attention was focused on Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, Israeli troops suppressed weekly anti-wall protests in several West Bank villages, resulting in dozens of cases of tear gas inhalation and five injuries, including a child and a journalist.
Two protestors in Bil'in (Wafa Images).
The protests took place in the villages of Ni’lin, Bil’in, and al-Nabi Saleh, all in the central West Bank, as well as al-Ma’sara, near Bethlehem in the south. In all cases, at least one demonstrator was dressed as Santa Claus.
In Bil’in, two Palestinians and one Israeli journalist were injured when Israeli troops suppressed a protest organized by the local Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. Protestors sang national songs and chanted slogans until the demonstration was broken up.
Palestinian photographers Awda Abu Rahmeh, 22, Tariq Khatib, 27, and one unidentified Israeli journalist were injured when a tear gas canister exploded at their feet.
In al-Ma’sara, near Bethlehem, 16-year-old Ali Hamdan was struck in the chest by a sound bomb fired by Israeli troops.
A protestor dressed as Santa Claus in al-Nabi Saleh on Friday (Wafa Images).
The situation in al-Nabi Saleh was especially fierce, with reports of Israeli troops firing tear gas canisters and sound bombs through windows and into homes. During the violence, 60-year-old Ibrahim Hasan al-Tamimi and his 50-year-old wife were both shot in the head with rubber-coated steel bullets and taken immediately to a hospital. Eighty-five-year-old Aziza al-Tamimi was also injured, but it was not reported how seriously.
In other news, a limited incursion of Israeli tanks into the eastern Gaza Strip resulted in no injuries. In an earlier incident near Beit Lahiya, an Israeli guard tower opened fire on a group of Gazan farmers picking strawberries, injuring one in the left foot. He was taken immeidately to Kamal Adwan hospital in Gaza City and is in stable condition.