Activists Injured as Israeli Forces Quell Peaceful March near Hebron

HEBRON, February 7, 2015 (WAFA) – Several Palestinian and international activists were injured Saturday as Israeli forces quelled a peaceful march to the north of Surif town to the north of Hebron, according to activists and WAFA correspondent.

Israeli forces attacked Palestinian and foreign activists who marched in protest of the ongoing closure of the road linking Surif with Al-Jaba‘ village to the southwest of Bethlehem, beating them with the butts of their rifles and firing tear gas canisters and stun grenades at them.

Several Palestinians sustained bruises across their bodies while others suffocated as a result of inhaling tear gas.

Marching activists waived Palestinian flags and chanted slogans demanding the removal of the metal gate that have been separating Surif from Al-Jabʻa for the last fourteen years.

The road linking the two areas has been closed off for 14 years by the Israeli authorities; Israel closed off the road with metal gates, rocks and sand barriers to facilitate safe movement for settlers traveling in and out of Gush Etzion settlement bloc to the north of Hebron, cutting off the two villages from each other.

Despite the deployment of Israeli forces in the area between the two villages and declaring the area a closed military zone, activists managed to plant dozens of olive saplings in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, particularly Malak Al-Khatib, 17, the youngest female prisoner in Israeli jails, said Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlement in Hebron Rateb al-Jabour.

Al-Jabour pledged that activists would continue to protect Palestinian lands, susceptible with being taken over, against expanding settlement construction through farming them and reinforcing the Palestinian farmers’ resilience.

Defiant activists attempted to remove the metal gate that obstruct movement between Surif and Al-Jabʻa and planted an olive sapling dedicated to captured Jordanian fighter pilot Mu‘az al-Kassasbeh, who was burned to death in a cage by Islamic State group ISIS.