Dozens of Palestinians in the village of Kufr Qadoom, in Nablus, suffocated by tear gas fired at them by the Israeli forces as the latter suppressed a peaceful demonstration protesting Israel’s closure of the village’s main road since 2003, a local activist said.
Murab Shtawi, the oordinator of the popular resistance committee in the village of Kufr Qadoom, said that the Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades at demonstrators, who rallied to protest the closure of the main road that connects the village of Kufr Qadoom with the city of Nablus, WAFA reported.
Dozens of locals suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.
Meanwhile, clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinian locals in the vicinity of Umar ibn Al-Khattāb mosque in the village, after the former raided the area. No injuries were reported.
“Before 2003, the residents of Kufr Qaddum would use a shorter road to the East in order to come and go to nearby cities and villages. However, as the settlements expanded so that they overwhelmed the road, it became closed for Palestinian use, said Addameer Human rights Association
The only alternative road is roughly six times longer than the previous route, disrupting the villagers’ ability to attend university, their jobs, and other vital aspects of their economic and social wellbeing, noted Addameer.
“Three Palestinian deaths relating to the road’s closure occurred between 2004 and 2005,” it said.
Although Kufr Qaddum’s Popular Resistance Committee took their case to the Israeli High Court in 2003, the legal status of the road remains unchanged, stressed Addameer. After all legal appeals failed, villagers decided to organize weekly demonstrations in July 2011, a step that was met with violent suppression by the Israeli forces.
A report titled, ‘Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank,’ described mounting bloodshed and human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) as a result of the Israeli forces’ use of unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians since January 2011, reported Amnesty International.
A statement issued by spokesperson of the EU’s High Representative Catherine Ashton, defended the right of Palestinians to hold peaceful protests against illegal Israeli settlement construction on their land.