Doing what few other Palestinian high-ranking officials and politicians bother to do, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad joined the regular Bil’in Friday demonstration against the Wall today, in the rain, on New Year’s eve.
A photo of Salam Fayyad marching in Bilin in the rain, taken by Joseph Dana (Ibn Ezra) is posted on a Twitpic page here:
Fayyad was defying an IDF ban, issued earlier in the year, on the presence of anyone who is not a resident of Bil’in from being in the area from 8 am until 8 pm on Friday, when the weekly demonstrations are held.
For some reason, the IDF refrained from shooting tear gas until after Fayyad’s early departure from the scene…Fayyad did not march to The Wall, and he was not tear-gassed.
The tear gas was unusually heavy, according to Tweets from those on the scene. The rain helped limit its dispersion, but there was still an unusually heavy volley of tear gas, according to those present — AFTER Fayyad’s departure (he ususally travels with Israeli Security coordination + more)
The IDF, right on cue (after Fayyad’s departure from the area), has just sent out a Tweet informing us that 250 ” ‘rioters’ in Bil’in now hurling rocks @ IDF forces-area declared closed military zone to prevent escalation but open to village residents”…
Joseph Dana (Ibn Ezra) then Tweeted that this was a lie — demonstrators were not throwing stones, he said.
These pictures were just posted on Salam Fayyad’s website:
And here is Fayyad listening to encouraging music with a wet-haired Luisa Morgantini, wearing a necklace from Nuha + Khader’s Galerie Zeinab in Ramallah
UPDATE: IT was later reported that one person was in critical condition in Ramallah Hospital on Friday night, suffering from exposure to the active ingredient in the tear gas. She was reportedly not responding to medical treatment. She is the sister of Basem Abu Rahmeh [Abu Rahmah], killed by direct impact of a high-velocity tear gas cannister on his chest on 17 April 2009. The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee reported that “Doctors at the Ramallah hospital are currently fighting for Jawaher Abu Rahmah’s life, after an acute deterioration in her condition this evening. Abu Rahmah suffered from severe asphyxiation during today’s demonstration in Bil’in as a result of tear-gas inhalation, and was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital. She is currently diagnosed as suffering from poisoning caused by the active ingredient in the tear-gas, and is not responding to treatment”.
The Popular Struggle Committee, which had announced earlier that “the last day of the decade will indeed also be the last day of the Wall on Bil’in’s land”, reported that an “overwhelming number of Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers spread along the path of the Wall, but were not able to stop demonstrators equipped with bolt-cutters from breaching through the Wall in three places. In one place, the protesters actually managed to carry a rather significant chunk of the Wall back to the village”…