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Israeli forces detain 4, including Oscar-nominated filmmaker and journalist, in Bilin protest

July 22, 2016 7:44 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 29, 2016 5:09 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained four people, including a journalist and an Oscar-nominated filmmaker, as soldiers dispersed weekly protests in the village of Bilin in the Ramallah district of the occupied West Bank on Friday.

Israeli forces detained Iranian television reporter Khalid Sabarnah, the head of the local council Basil Mansur, activist Ashraf Abu Rahma, and filmmaker Emad Burnat, the Oscar-nominated director of the documentary film "5 Broken Cameras," a film showing Burnat's first-hand account of the protests in Bilin that began 11 years ago in response to the illegal expansion of nearby Israeli settlements, and the construction of Israel's separation wall which separates Bilin residents from their privately owned lands.

Bilin has long been one of the most active villages in organized opposition against Israeli policies, as residents have protested every Friday for 11 consecutive years.

Residents of the village were joined on Friday by international and Israeli activists who raised Palestinian flags and chanted songs for national unity and against occupation, according to local sources.

Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator for the popular resistance committee in Bilin said the protests would continue despite Israeli detentions and the often violent suppression of the weekly protest.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was not aware of the arrests, as they were possibly carried out by Israeli border police.

An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Dozens of residents of Bilin suffered from severe tear gas inhalation last Thursday, after Israeli forces raided the village and confiscated vehicles, sparking clashes with local youth.

Israeli forces targeted the western neighborhood of the village, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas canisters, afflicting elderly locals, children, and women with tear gas suffocation.

Israeli forces have come under repeated criticism for excessive use of force as well as lethal methods of crowd control that often result in death or injury of protesters.

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