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Teargas injures dozens at weekly Bil'in protest; new route for wall rejected

Sept. 19, 2008 4:18 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 19, 2008 4:18 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Protesters at the popular resistance demonstration in Bil'in on Friday were hosed with water mixed with tear gas this week, as Israeli soldiers tried again to halt the procession of demonstrators as they made their way towards the construction site of the separation wall.

The weekly protest marked the 26th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacres, which saw the death of thousands of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. The camps were then under Israeli control, since the army had invaded Lebanon as part of an ongoing war. It is alleged that Israeli troops coordinated or at least allowed Lebanese Phalangist forces into the camps, knowing they were about to carry out a massacre.

Carrying banners and chanting slogans lamenting the Israeli actions against Palestinians in the past and present, demonstrators tried to access village lands confiscated by the separation wall.

When the group got close to the area, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and sound bomb canisters, then sprayed water mixed with blue dye and tear gas, causing it to be absorbed into the skin.

On Wednesday, a third plan for the separation wall route was presented to the high court, which has ruled the current path an illegal violation of the rights of village residents. Since the High Court verdict, plans for a new route have consistently infringed on court orders to respect the agricultural lands belonging to the village. The Popular Committee Against The Wall, who are participating in the legal proceedings, have requested that the latest plan also be rejected.

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