At the weekly Iraq Burin protest, Saturday, May 8, 2010, villagers and internationals including MPT , remembered the two young men who were shot to death by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) a month ago in a village protest. (There was international media attention after the 2 youth were killed and a week later, 2 more youth were shot to death in the nearby village of Awarta.) Iraq Burin has frequent incursions of settlers, armed with rocks and sling shots and Israeli soldiers shooting tear gas canisters that shatter windows in home where young children are present.
[In the fall of 2009, MPT was present at several protests in this high hilltop village which lost 25 acres of land to the illegal Israeli settlement of Bracha.]
This Saturday, after midday prayers, villagers gathered in a central place and then walked across one hillside, through a ravine and up the other hillside into Palestinian land which has become part of the settlement "barrier/security land." This hillside "barrier/security land" has a large village drinking-water well, where settlers skinny dipped and a village grazing area which the IOF prohibits villagers from entering.
The villagers used a siren-like instrument to announce their assent to the hilltop. Once they neared the top, about 10 Israeli soldiers appeared and immediately shot several tear gas canisters at the villagers. Gas clouds filled the hilltop making it impossible to stay there. At 21-year old Palestinian man was hit in the foot with a low-shot canister and had to be helped across the ravine to an ambulance.
The other young Palestinians men moved westward away from the smoke, but the soldiers continued shooting tear gas canisters. Soon the top of the hillside was filled with smoke from the tear gas and then from smoke from the fires in the dry vegetation ignited by the hot tear gas canisters.
After about an hour the protest organizers called the youth to return to the village center. As villagers began to move down the hill, about 15 soldiers or settlers appeared on the top of the hill opposite the village, but there was no further confrontation this Saturday.
After the demonstration, MPT and other internationals went to the Nablus hospital to visit the youth wounded by the tear gas canister. He was hit above the left ankle, but sustained no broken bones and did not need stitches.