Army Quells Rally Protesting Closure of Ramallah Village Entrance, Suffocation Cases Reported

RAMALLAH, December 12, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Saturday suppressed a rally organized by Hundreds of Palestinians to protest the prolonged closure of the main eastern entrance of Aboud village, northwest of Ramallah, said a municipal source.

Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters at protestors to disperse them, causing several to suffer from excessive tear gas inhalation.

Dozens of villagers demonstrated in protest of the ongoing closure of main entrance of Aboud village, holding placards reading ‘No to the policy of collective punishment’, ‘We have the right to free movement as other people’ and ‘Christmas means peace, not closure.’ protesters raised the flag of Palestine and chanted ‘free Palestine.”

WAFA reported Head of Aboud Local Council Youssef Massʻad as saying that the village has turned into a big prison as a result of the ongoing closure.

He explained that the closure has exacerbated the suffering of students and employees, forcing them to take difficult alternative detours in order to reach their universities, colleges and workplaces in Ramallah.

He said that the alternative road that passes through the nearby villages of Beit Rima and Nabi Saleh is occasionally inaccessible as Israeli forces close the metal gate at the entrance of Nabi Saleh.

Massʻad added that other alternative route running toward the nearby village of Shuqba, west of the village, is very difficult to travel through.

‘Given this, we have decided to protest at the entrance of Aboud in order to convey our message to the whole world that the Israeli occupation has been hindering local development and denying patients from accessing healthcare services at Aboud medical centers,’ Massʻad added.

Massʻad noted that the local council has lodged protests to several foreign embassies in cooperation with the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem.

He called upon human rights organizations to intervene and urge Israel to remove the earth mounds blocking the main entrance.

The village entrance has been closed with earth mounds for a week following the killing of a 27-year-old local Palestinian.

Abed al-Rahman al-Barghouthi was shot dead on Friday December 4th, after he allegedly stabbed an Israeli soldier at the village entrance.

However, eyewitnesses confirmed that al-Barghouthi was heading back to his house in the village following a visit to his fiancée’s house in the nearby village of Deir Ghassaneh.

He was dropped off by a public taxi near the village entrance, where clashes were taking place between local youths and Israeli forces.

Al-Barghothi was ordered by soldiers to show his identity card, when soldiers opened fire at him, hitting him in the neck and head with over six bullets, causing his immediate death,’ said Husni al-Barghouthi, Abdel al-Rahman’s uncle, who refuted the Israeli allegations, confirming that soldiers ‘planted a knife beside his body.’

Aboud is a unique Palestinian village. The village population is evenly divided into Muslims and Christians living together in harmony. “There has been a continuous Christian presence in the village since the earliest days of Christianity.” Ruins of ancient Messiah church mark the location where Jesus Christ is said to have preached. The village is renowned for its many churches and monasteries, including the Orthodox Church dating back to the Byzantine era.