During an olive planting action to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the death of American activist Rachel Corrie, Israeli forces arrest two Palestinians–one of them while unconscious.
Text and photos by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org
Marking 12 years since the death of Rachel Corrie, activists planted 40 olive trees in the threatened lands of the West Bank village Qaryut, which is surrounded by many Israeli settlements and outposts. Corrie, an American activist, was killed in 2003 by an Israeli military bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza Strip, as she tried to block the demolition of a Palestinian home. Activists hung pictures of Corrie on the newly planted trees. Pictures of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni and the British activist Thomas Hurndall were also hung trees. By the end of the event, Israeli forces arrested two Palestinians—one of them while unconscious.
The activists chose the village of Qaryut to plant trees in order to support the village’s protest against the blocking of the main road connecting the village to Road 60, which leads to two main cities in the West Bank, Nablus and Ramallah. The road was blocked one year ago, forcing villagers to take a different road and making their trip 20 kilometers longer. The road was closed dozens of times in the recent years, according to locals.
In the midst of the event, Israeli military jeeps came to the area and clashes with some Palestinian youth erupted. Palestinians threw stones at the soldiers while soldiers fired tear gas. A group of about 10 soldiers came through the village and surrounded the Palestinians. At one point, soldiers started to shoot live bullets in the air in order to repress the activity.
Soldiers tried to arrest many Palestinians but village women managed to protect most of them. Soldiers decided to arrest an unconscious Palestinian who fell while he was running away. Villagers and activists tried to convince the soldiers to release him and demanded a Palestinian ambulance, but the soldiers refused.
“I know you are trying to mislead us! You will be arrested!” soldiers shouted at the unconscious Palestinian. The soldiers eventually took him and the other detainee by the military jeep through the mountains, more than 200 meters away from the village.
A response from the Israeli army spokesperson went unanswered at the time of this report. It will be published here if and when received.