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West Bank protests mark olive harvest

Oct. 8, 2010 7:45 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 9, 2010 1:04 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained two Palestinian teenagers picking olives near Hebron on Friday as weekly anti-wall protests across the West Bank marked the start of the olive harvesting season.

Witnesses said Jehad Jamal Al-Amla, 17, and Iyad Jamil Al-'Amla, 18, were detained while picking olives in Beit Ula west of Hebron. An Israeli military spokeswoman said they were harvesting olives from trees close to the separation wall, and "were invited for security questioning."

Two journalists injured in Bil'in

At a weekly demonstration in Bil'in, Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets at protesters as they attempted to cross a gate in the separation wall to collect their olives, the local popular committee said.

Two journalists were injured at the rally, the committee said. Abas Al-Momani was hit in the back by a tear gas canister, while Haron Amaira suffered from extreme tear gas inhalation.

Protesters carried a banner reading "We will stay here like the roots of the olive trees."

An Israeli military spokeswoman said riot dispersal means were used against 30 protesters in the Ramallah village.

PNI leader attends Ni'lin rally

A simultaneous protest in Ni'lin, also in the Ramallah district, was attended by Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouthi.

Barghouthi said he attended the rally to help farmers pick their olives, and to show them they were not alone.

Nil'in's popular committee said five were injured when Israeli forces launched tear gas canisters and rubber coated bullets at villagers and activists who were attempting to harvest olives close to the separation wall.

An army spokeswoman said forces used tear gas and rubber bullets in response to rocks thrown by demonstrators, who she said numbered around 60.

Reports of live ammunition in An-Nabi Salih

Meanwhile, at a weekly protest in An-Nabi Salih, west of Ramallah, locals said one man was hospitalized after being hit in the chest by a live bullet. He was taken to Yasser Arafat hospital in Salfit, where medics said his condition was serious.

Six others were injured by live ammunition fired by Israeli soldiers during the anti-wall demonstration, the local committee said.

Protesters marched to the village entrance after noon prayers, and the committee said forces were already stationed there. Protesters reported that soldiers became irate when village children threw paint at them, and launched tear gas grenades in response.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said around 70 protesters gathered in the village, and forces used riot dispersal means in response to rocks hurled at soldiers. She said forces did not use live ammunition against demonstrators at any protests on Friday.

Bethlehem village protests mosque arson

Hundreds of villagers joined prayers at Al-Anbiya Mosque in Beit Fajjar, which was subject to an arson attack on Tuesday. Israeli police suspected the mosque was attacked as part of a "price tag" operation by nearby settlers wishing to protest Israel's West Bank policies, Israeli press reported.

After noon prayers, residents headed to the village entrance to protest the arson and settler violence towards Palestinians. Israeli forces were already deployed at the entrance, and launched tear gas and sound grenades at the rally, locals said, adding that four protesters were injured.

A military statement said forces used riot dispersal mechanisms against around 100 protesters in response to violence.

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