Israelis, Palestinians clash at West Bank site
Bilin: Israeli forces fired tear gas at some 200 stone-throwing Palestinians
on Thursday in the West Bank village of Bilin, focus of years of
protests against Israel's controversial separation barrier.
The Palestinians used bulldozers to try and bring down
the fence during the protests that were briefly attended by
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who led Friday
prayers before departing, a photographer said.
Bilin is the site of weekly protests against the
fence, but the demonstrations took on extra significance as
the Israeli army began removing parts of the fence this week.
The military is altering the course of the barrier in
the area, finally carrying out a 2007 Supreme Court ruling
that said it significantly impinged on the property rights of
During today's protest some 200 Palestinians took part
in what the army called an "illegal riot."
The army used "riot dispersal means" and no live fire
was used, an military spokesman said. There were no immediate
reports of injuries.
Israel says the barrier is designed to prevent
attacks, but the Palestinians view it as an "apartheid wall"
that carves off key parts of their promised state.
When the 709-kilometre (435-mile) barrier is complete,
85 percent of it will have been built inside the occupied West
The Palestinians' protests against the barrier in
Bilin have resulted in sometimes deadly consequences.
In January, woman protester Jawaher Abu Rahmah, died,
apparently after inhaling tear gas. Her brother Bassem Abu
Rahmah had died in April 2009 after being hit on the head by a
In a non-binding 2004 judgement, the International
Court of Justice called for the dismantling of all parts of
the separation barrier built on occupied territory.