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Palestinians breach wall near Tulkarem

Nov. 14, 2009 8:33 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 16, 2009 8:53 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - At least six demonstrators were arrested in the northern West Bank after they breached a section of Israel's wall on Saturday, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.

The protesters said they intended to march to lands that were left isolated behind the wall in Deir Al-Ghusun, northeast of Tulkarem, and managed to break open one of the barrier's gates before Israeli soldiers invaded the village.

One demonstrator was lightly injured after being struck with a rubber-coated bullet in the leg, onlookers said.

"Today's demonstration was the opening salvo for a public campaign by the Deir Al-Ghusun municipality and the affected farmers," said Anarchists Against the Wall, an Israeli group, in a statement. "As the demonstration was coming to an end, a large group of soldiers surprised a group of the protesters by closing in on them from the direction of the village, and arrested 18 of the village's youth."

A spokeswoman for Israel's army said soldiers and military police units responded to a riot, using non-lethal means, northeast of Tulkarem, and that six were detained for damaging the barrier.

Jonathan Pollak, one of the group's founders, told Ma'an that 18 demonstrators were originally detained, but added he was looking into the possibility that some were later released.

The wall in the area of the village cuts deep into West Bank land, leaving about 2,500 dunams (620 acres) of the village's land on its west side, affecting 120 land owners, including dozens who have never received permits to tend to their farmland. Elsewhere, the barrier snakes through the interior of the West Bank, looping around Israeli settlements and fragmenting Palestinian communities.

Marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Palestinian demonstrators breached the wall near Ramallah on Monday. Last Friday, protesters in the village of Ni'lin also managed to tear down a section.

In an advisory opinion issued in July 2004, the International Court of Justice in the Hague declared the path of Israel's wall in the West Bank illegal in its entirety, and ordered its removal.
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