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An Nabi Salih: A Spring in this Semi-desert lost to Settlers

Driving South to An Nabi Salih, a hilltop village a bit north of Ramallah, one passes illegal Israeli settlements, Barqan - a large Israeli industrial complex, and through a beautiful high hilly area of Palestinian villages. There are wadis (valleys) where a creek flows in the rainy season.

Coming into the village of An Nabi Salih, rows of bright red-roofed white homes of the illegal Israeli settlement (also named An Nabi Salih) are clearly visible on the opposite hill.

In this hilltop Palestinian village, one notices rows of tear gas canisters strung on fences and walls. Canisters are everywhere, on the village grounds, behind homes, and in fields where children play.

Friday, May 7, 2010, the villagers began their protest trying to walk to a spring at the edge of their land, close to the settlement. This spring is kept off limits by the Israeli army. The villagers were only able to walk a few blocks from the mosque where they had been praying when they were met by 5 Israeli jeeps with perhaps 30-40 Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) soldiers. The soldiers fired huge amounts of tear gas forcing the villagers to halt.

The protest lasted roughly from 1:00 to 5:00, when the IOF jeeps left. The shabah, village teenage boys, responded to the tear gas by throwing stones at the jeeps which seems not dented in anyway, and at soldiers. The stone throwers have to stay a distance from the soldiers to be safe from being hit or caught, so very few stones accurately reach near a soldier. The IOF responded to the stones with tear gas. The shabab kept moving to avoid the jeeps and soldiers.

It was an entire afternoon of Israeli military shooting tear gas canisters and sound grenades and young Palestinian men throwing rocks. MPT and IWPS moved up behind homes, and in and out or two homes with other internationals and Israeli activists, to avoid the tear gas.

At one point when some soldiers moved across the a hillside across the road, young Palestinian men above them were able to drive them down from their location. Villagers cheered when the soldiers were forced to move. Then army jeeps with ten soldiers drove up into area near where the young men had been. They encircled a couple of homes and looked into the windows, but did not enter. There were tense moments. A later report said they broke windows of an Israeli activist's car.

One of the villagers said that the Israeli soldiers entered the village nightly. It may be that they will look for the youth that forced them off the side of the hill, which may have wounded their pride enough for them to want revenge.

Blog readers may be very harsh on stone throwers, but. . .
- What if NO military aid (between $3-%5 billion annually) were given to Israel by the USA?
* Would Israel be able to continue the military occupation of Palestine?
* Would there be tear gas canisters and sound bombs in this village?
* Would there be young men throwing stones at soldiers on a beautiful spring day?
* Would a young child put on a tear gas mask?
* And would young Israelis be able to enjoy carefree days with no weapons?

For a clear video of the demonstration see:

[This is not an MPT production, but is what MPT saw at the demonstration.]

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