As on the first Friday of every month since last December, on May 6 Combatants for Peace and the movement Standing Together held their monthly demonstration against the occupation and the violence it breads. Protesters gathered at the roundabout next to the village of Batteer along Route 60 and marched to the Tunnel Checkpoint. Around 300 Palestinian and Israeli activists participated in Friday’s freedom march, among them MK Dov Khenin (Hadash – Joint List) and several members of Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel, chanting against the occupation and the settlements. Just before the checkpoint, a Palestinian Rap group from Jerusalem performed for the crowd.
Combatants for Peace Movement (CFP) and the Standing Together movement call for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem. CFP, whose members include Palestinians and Israelis who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence in the region – Israeli soldiers serving in the army and Palestinians combatants fighting to free their country from the Israeli occupation – uses exclusively nonviolent means of protest and calls upon both sides to join them in order to achieve peace and reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis.
According the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency, also this past Friday Israeli forces injured dozens of Palestinians during weekly protests in the occupied West Bank villages of Kafr Qaddum and Bilin, as well as in the Gaza Strip. Three Palestinians, including two journalists, were injured on Friday as Israeli forces dispersed the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddum in the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya. The coordinator for popular resistance in the village, Murad Shtewi, said dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the village firing rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge rounds, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades.
Among the injured during the protest at Kafr Qaddum was Akif Jumaa, 55, who was hit in the wrist by a sponge round and was taken to Rafidia hospital for treatment. Also injured at Kafr Qaddum were two Palestinian newsmen who were hit by rubber-coated steel bullets fired by Israeli forces, Ahmad Shawir, a reporter for the Palestine TV news station, who was hit in his hand and foot and photojournalist Muthanna al-Deek, who was wounded in the foot. Both newsmen were treated on the scene.
Meanwhile, in the central West Bank village of Bilin, dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed the weekly protest there. Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters at the western entrance to the village, causing a fire to break out on land belonging to Awad Yasin in the village area of Khallat al-Ful. Participants in the Bilin protest raised Palestinian flags and roamed the village chanting songs for national unity and resistance. They called for the release of all prisoners including journalist Omar Nazzal and other Palestinian prisoners currently being held by Israel under administrative detention.
In the area of the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian was also shot and injured when clashes broke out with Israeli forces near the al-Mintar (Karni) crossing in the strip’s eastern sector, according to medical sources who passed on this information to the Ma’an New Agency. In the northern Gaza Strip, clashes also reportedly broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces deployed at the Beit Hanun (Erez) crossing.