House Report No. 126
Soldiers spray unknown substance on demonstrators in Bi’lin
On Friday 8th August 2008, IWPS joined Palestinians and international and Israeli activists for the weekly demonstration against the Israeli Apartheid wall in Bi’lin. The village has lost vast amounts of land as a result of the wall’s construction. In September 2007, the Israeli High Court ruled that the Wall must be re-routed to reduce the amount of land confiscated. On 3rd August 2008, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the proposed new route on the grounds that it did not free enough land for the villagers. The Israeli authorities will now have to submit proposals for a third route.
The demonstration began at approximately 1.30pm. Around 100 demonstrators marched to the Wall, carrying posters of the two children killed by Israeli forces in the village of Nil’in last week. When they reached the wall there were a number of Israeli soldiers waiting on the other side of it.
As the demonstrators chanted anti-occupation songs and held Palestinian flags aloft, the soldiers drove a truck, equipped with an industrial spraying mechanism, towards them and began to spray an unknown substance over the demonstrators. The liquid was discoloured and foul smelling and there was speculation that it was raw sewage. A number of demonstrators vomited and many had to leave the area as the stench was so unbearable. As demonstrators withdrew, soldiers also fired a number of tear gas canisters at them.
Over the course of the demonstration, the soldiers sprayed the unknown liquid on the demonstrators three times. Many of them were covered in it. After approximately one hour, the demonstration ended and people returned to the village.
This is the first time the Israeli army have used this tactic in Bi’lin. The popular committee of the village is awaiting results from analysis of the liquid samples that were collected during the demonstration.