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Report: Undercover Israeli forces threw stones in Bilin

May 7, 2012 9:25 P.M. (Updated: May 8, 2012 7:02 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Undercover Israeli forces threw stones at Israeli soldiers during a protest in the West Bank village of Bilin, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported Monday.

Several officers in Israel's Masada force -- a unit in Israel's Prison Service -- testified in the trial of MK Mohammad Barakeh, who is accused of assaulting a border guard in Bilin. The officers' identities were protected, Haaretz said.

"We were sent to counter the disruptions at the separation barrier in Bilin," one officer told the court.

He said they threw stones "in the general direction" of Israeli soldiers.

The Ramallah village has held weekly non-violent demonstrations against Israel's separation wall since 2005 to protest the confiscation of residents' land.

A commander in the Masada unit said a plain-clothed force was "in the field" in Bilin to carry out "quality" arrests on the day that Barakat allegedly assaulted a border guard.

Israeli soldiers were unable to control the demonstration and requested the Masada unit "act to stop the demonstrators," he told the court.

Israeli soldiers routinely shut down protests in Bilin using tear gas, sound grenades, rubber bullets and sometimes live ammunition. Forces have killed at least two protesters from the village and injured hundreds more.

The Israeli army says riot dispersal means are used against protesters throwing rocks at forces. Dozens of Bilin residents, including children, have been arrested during protests and in night raids on the village for throwing stones.
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