My Notes: Demo in Kufr Qaddum

My Notes: Demo in Kufr Qaddum

Every Friday the village of Kufr Qaddum holds protests against the occupation. Like many other villages, it has suffered numerous times from army invasions. One of the main reasons for the protest is the closure of the main road leading out of the village. The road closure makes it much more difficult, expensive and time-consuming for villagers to travel. The army has now closed the road for all Palestinians so the road is mainly for the settlers living in Qedumim settlement next to Kufr Qaddum.

Some 50 men and young boys gathered at 12:30 at the main road of the village. Three people from the IWPS house team and around 10 other internationals and media joined the pumped-up group of men. We marched to the end of the village where the road was closed but the army met up with us before we reached the last house of the village. The villagers had made several road blocks with stones so that the army vehicles could not enter the town. The army had brought a bulldozer that they used to push many of the roadblocks away.

The first 20 minutes before the start of the official demonstration were a bit chaotic. A few teargas containers were shot but the protesters seemed to be coming and going. The bulldozer retreated after a while for some reason and the army kept its distance. Most of the men returned to the village to pray and a few internationals joined them. After prayers, the majority of the protesters regrouped and marched back to the end of the village, peacefully chanting and shouting.

The army started shooting tear gas at the people; the gas seemed to be particularly strong that day. They had a machine so they could shoot many canisters at a time. People were badly affected by the tear gas and some had to be carried away from the action to recover. Others who breathed tear gas were reduced to sitting on the side of the road, sheltering in front of houses or walls, where it took them at least five minutes to recover. After an hour some of the boys succeeded in starting a fire with old tires so the black thick smoke went straight up to the soldiers on the hill.

When the demonstration had been going on for about an hour and a half, suddenly someone shouted that it was over. On our return to the village, one organizer told us that he believed the army wanted something that day – perhaps there were soldiers hiding in waiting for them, had they proceeded further out of the village.

Source: IWPS HOUSE REPORT No. 30: Demonstration in Kufr Qaddum