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Occupation magazine - Activism

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Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals `armed` with grapes arrested and beaten near Bethlehem

By International Solidarity Movement - Media Alerts

At 10 AM this morning 50 villagers from Al Khader joined by Israeli and International supporters marched from the village to the military checkpoint on route 60 with bags of grapes to protest the economic siege.

The economy of villages like Al Khader in the Bethlehem region which rely on the income from agricultural produce are being economically strangled. In the past their grapes were sold all over the West Bank and Israel but farmers can now no longer get their produce to market due to closures. The farmers intended to give their grapes away to passing motorists so they wouldn`t just rot - 11,000 tonnes of grapes will go to rot this year. In addition, over 20,000 Dunums of the land of Al Khader on the other side of route 60 has been annexed for illegal settlements, as well as the wall being built along route 60. The construction of the wall will complete the siege on the grapes of Al Khader. The demonstrators were attacked by over 40 Israeli army and police who started beating, kicking and choking people, forcing them to drop the grapes on the road. Six internationals and three Israelis were lightly wounded. Two Palestinians, Ahmed and Mohammed Salah, three Israelis and one international were arrested. The Israeli secret police or Shabbak were also present.

Mohammed Salah was badly beaten by Israeli soldiers and dumped in the woods near Beitar Ilit settlement. He was taken to Al Hussein hospital in Bethlehem.

His brother Ahmad and one Israeli have been released. Currently one Israeli from the Ta`ayush peace movement in his 40s, another Israeli in his 20s and one international are in detention.

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-- ISM media office 02 2971824


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