Monday, December 5, 2011

A Confrontation in Beit Ummar

Every week, international and local protesters descend to the main entrance of the village of Beit Ummar, located between Bethlehem and Hebron in the West Bank to protest the expansion of three nearby Israeli settlements. The Israeli Defense Force maintains a watchtower and personnel holding area at the base of the main road. The peaceful protest movement in the West Bank, which is characterized by weekly demonstrations on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the Territory against Israel settlement expansion, the occupation, and other related grievances. These peaceful protests are haunted with the occasional recourse to violence, a specter which each side, Israeli military forces and Palestinian protesters, often blame on the other. On July 22, 2011, I watched as a peaceful protest dispersed and then turned violent. Some speculate that stone-throwing Palestinian youth were looking for vengeance in light of a confrontation between an Israeli soldier and local man the day before. That said, the transition from passivity to violence that morning raised critical questions on Palestinian political activism and the Israeli military presence in the West Bank.

Image: CrossTalk.

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