QALQILIA, March 2, 2018 (WAFA) – Several Palestinians Friday suffocated by tear gas as Israeli forces quelled the weekly and peaceful anti-settlement demonstration in the village of Kufr Qaddoum to the east of Qalqilia, according to a local activist.
Large Israeli military forces violently suppressed demonstrators, who also rallied to protest US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
Forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters and stun grenades at demonstrators, causing several suffocation cases among them. They were all treated at the scene.
The village residents have been holding weekly nonviolent marches every Friday to protest Israel’s land grab and settlement activities as well as Israel’s closure of the main road that connects the village of Kufr Qaddoum with the city of Nablus since 2003.
After all legal appeals failed, villagers decided to organize weekly demonstrations in July 2011, a step that was met with violent suppression by Israeli forces.
“Before 2003, the residents of Kufr Qaddum would use a shorter road to the east in order to come and go to nearby cities and villages. However, as the settlements expanded so that they overwhelmed the road, it became closed for Palestinian use, said Addameer Human rights Association.
The only alternative road is roughly six times longer than the previous route, disrupting the villagers’ ability to attend university, their jobs, and other vital aspects of their economic and social wellbeing, noted Addameer.
“Three Palestinian deaths relating to the road’s closure occurred between 2004 and 2005,” it said. Although Kufr Qaddum’s Popular Resistance Committee took their case to the Israeli High Court in 2003, the legal status of the road remains unchanged, stressed Addameer.