Na'alin Riot Ends Demo by Jews

A peaceful demonstration by Jews supporting the separation barrier turned into a violent protest by Arabs Friday at the village of Na'alin.

Hana Levi Julian ,

Jews demonstrate support for barrier
Jews demonstrate support for barrier
Israel News Photo: (Yehuda Boltshauser)

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Violent riots again broke out in the Palestinian Authority-controlled village of Na’alin on Friday, leaving two Border Guard police officers lightly wounded in the melee. Pro-Arab Israeli activists, foreign nationals and Palestinian Authority Arabs have been rioting at the site almost daily to protest the construction of the Judea-Samaria security barrier that is being built in the area.

Arab prepares to hurl rock at Israeli civilians and soldiers
Photo: Yehuda Boltshauser

The peaceful Israeli protest of support
Photo: Yehuda Boltshauser

Soldiers refrain from live ammo and fire gas cartriges in response to barrage of rocks
Photo: Yehuda Boltshauser


The protest against the separation barrier actually began as a demonstration in support of soldiers by rights activists who arrived at the site in the morning.


The activists demonstrated peacefully until almost 1:00 p.m., according to an eyewitness who said the trouble began when pro-Arab protestors began to approach the barrier from the Arab side of the fence.


Rights activists at that time were warned by Border Guard officers to leave the area. “’It’s not safe here,’ they said” related photojournalist Yehuda Boltshauser, who was on the scene at the time.


“They -- the Arabs -- started moving toward the barbed wire and were also igniting fires as they moved forward,” he added. “It appeared as though they were lighting branches and sticking them in shrubs. They also continued throwing heavy barrages of rocks.”


Border Guard police responded to the riot first with gas grenades and then with shock flash-bang grenades. When those measures failed to stop the onslaught, security personnel received authorization to fire rubber bullets at the rioting Arabs, who were by that time hurling softball-sized rocks at the officers.


“They were using slingshots to fling the rocks,” said Boltshauser.


The village, which is located near the PA-controlled city of Ramallah and the Jewish city of Modi’in, has been the scene of increasingly bloodly clashes as the riots continue over the construction of the barrier.