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From the field

Background on the demonstrations at a-Nabi Saleh

Demonstrations at a-Nabi Saleh began in December 2009 to protest the takeover by settlers, probably from Halamish, of the al-Qus spring and other village-owned land. The Israeli military and border police have stationed forces at the site to prevent Palestinian demonstrators from reaching the spring or the road beside it, which also serves settlers, explaining this as a pre-emptive measure to prevent villagers from throwing stones at the settlers.

Security forces disperse a demonstration in the village of a-Nabi Saleh, 21 May 2010. Photo: Oren Ziv,

Israeli security forces frequently halt the demonstration while it is still inside the village, in effect imposing a curfew on the entire village. Security forces make extensive use of crowd control means as soon as the demonstration begins, without any violence having been directed at them. From the outset, the demonstrations at a-Nabi Saleh have taken the form of non-violent processions, setting out from the village center and proceeding to the spring in order to protest the unlawful takeover of village lands. The early demonstrations reached the main road that separates the village from the spring and the settlement, and there they were dispersed by the Israeli security forces.

After several demonstrations, the security forces prevented the procession from leaving the village. In most cases, after the demonstrations were dispersed, confrontations ensued between security forces and stone-throwing youths. Sometimes these conflicts lasted for hours after the dispersal of the demonstration. Over time, the intensity of the conflicts with security forces diminished. At present, only a few dozen people take part in the demonstrations and there is far less stone-throwing. For further information on the conduct of Israeli security forces at the weekly demonstrations in the village, see B'Tselem's report "Show of Force." 

On 9 December 2011 Mustafa a-Tamimi, 28, was killed while throwing stones during a weekly a-Nabi Saleh demonstration; a tear gas canister hit him in the head.

On 17 Nov. 2012 Rushdi a-Tamimi, 30 year-old, was injured by live fire during the weekly demonstration in which youths threw stones at the soldiers. He Died of his injuries two days later.