Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bil'in, Na'alin declared closed military areas [for Israelis and internationals] each Friday for months

Infoshop News March 16, 2010

The Israel Defense Forces yesterday designated Bil'in and Na'alin as
closed military areas every Friday until mid-August, in a bid to halt the
weekly demonstrations against the separation fence in those West Bank

On Sunday night dozens of troops, some wearing masks, entered the villages
and plastered storefronts and home windows with notices announcing the
closure order signed by the GOC Central Command, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi.

The order officially runs from February 18 to August 17. The 12-hour
closure will apply to the area stretching from the separation fence to the
edge of the villages' built-up areas.

Weekly demonstrations against the fence have been held in Bil'in for the
past five years. Over the last three years the villages of Na'alin and
Al-Ma'sara have also become weekly protest spots, attracting not only
Palestinians but activists from Israel and abroad. Similar rallies were
held in Jayyous, Budrus, Beit Liqya and Bidu.

In all, 23 Palestinians - including 12 minors - have been killed at five
rallying sites by IDF fire directed at protesters. Six were killed in Bidu
and five in Bil'in.

Dozens of protesters have been injured by IDF fire, including
rubber-coated bullets and direct hits from stun grenades and tear gas. Two
weeks ago, a boy from the Ramallah-area of village Nabi Saleh was
seriously hurt by a rubber-coated bullet as protesters rallied against
settlers' seizure of village lands on which a spring is situated.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Fatah leaders like Jibril
Rajoub and Nabil Sha'ath have supported the fight against the wall and
taken part in several rallies.

The IDF Spokesman told Haaretz, "Every week violent, illegal disturbances
occur in Na'alin and Bil'in, during which security forces are hurt and
serious damage is caused to the security fence and public property. In an
effort to prevent the arrival of individuals inciting violent unrest in
the area, GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi signed an order three
weeks ago designating the area between the security fence and the villages
Na'alin and Bil'in as closed military zones."

The order, it said, "applies to Israeli citizens, foreigners and
Palestinians who are not residents of the villages on Fridays between 8
A.M. and 8 P.M., and will remain in force for six months. Note that the
order does not apply to village residents, who will be allowed free

The order states that individuals will be allowed entry if they have been
"given authorization ... to enter and remain in the closed military area"
by GOC Central Command or the Binyamin Brigade commander or his

It remains unclear whether issuing the permits will require bureaucratic
action similar to that undertaken by the Civil Administration in granting
access to individuals owning land on the western side of the separation
fence. Village residents said that in the past, their own entry to areas
designated as closed military zones was routinely denied.

Last year the IDF and Shin Bet security service made a number of night
incursions into Na'alin and Bil'in to carry out mass arrests. Minors and
mentally ill people were detained first, and in Shin Bet and police
interrogations produced lists of people who had supposedly participated in
illegal activity such as stone-throwing and "incitement."

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