15 arrested in protest against Israel's West Bank barrier

Date: 06-24-05

BILIN, West Bank (AFP) - The Israeli army broke up a demonstration against the massive separation barrier being built across the West Bank.

Around 200 Palestinians were joined by Israeli and foreign peace activists in the village of Bilin in the northern West Bank where they confronted soldiers who were guarding construction workers.

The soldiers used tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to disperse the crowd after minor clashes and stone-throwing broke out.

Three Palestinians and two foreign activists were lightly wounded by rubber bullets and 15 arrests were made.

The army said one soldier was hit in the face by a rock during the protest and had been evacuated to hospital for treatment although his injury was not thought to be serious.

Palestinians stage regular protests against what they call Israel's "apartheid wall" which often juts into their land. Locals say they have lost 2.3 square kilometers (0.9 square miles) of land to the barrier in Bilin.

Israel insists that what they call a "terror-prevention" fence is vital for security and is not intended to preempt the borders in a final settlement to the Middle East conflict.

A similar-sized protest was also staged in the Yatta area of the southern West Bank against the barrier before also being broken up with no reports of arrests or injuries.



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