Oh where is my secretary of State? At 972, Joseph Dana reports from Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, and the violent suppression of a peaceful demonstration against the occupation Friday in that tiny village. Shocking video of the teargassing of nonviolent demonstrators and the "skunk" gassing of villagers' homes. The quote in our headline is from 4:50 into video. Watch them arrest the great Jonathan Pollak at 7:30.
Dana: Another day in Nabi Saleh. I am happy that we were able to get clear video of the event. It is shocking what is happening there week in week out. The village, however, is resilient and determined in its drive to embrace this unique model of joint struggle, nonviolence and firm resistance to Israeli occupation. Luisa Morgantini, former European Union Vice President, was at the protest. You can see her holding a sign in the beginning. From Dana's published report:
The soldiers attacked the demonstrators with tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets and stun grenades. Despite the violence, the villagers continued to march to the spring when the ‘Skunk’ was brought to the scene.
At first, the ‘Skunk’ was sprayed from a large armoured car on the village’s main road. It did not stop the demonstrators. Three Israeli supporters were then thrown to the ground, handcuffed and then dragged through the chemical ‘Skunk’ muck covering the streets. After the arrest, the army blanketed the area in tear gas and most of the demonstrators fled to the village centre for fresh air. With no demonstrators left to deal with, the army decided to use the ‘Skunk’ on civilian homes. Clearly, the army rarely misses an opportunity to collectively punish Nabi Saleh for its nonviolent resistance.
The ‘Skunk’ is a petrochemical designed to cling to any surface that it touches. Once I was hit with the ‘Skunk’ during a demonstration in Bil’in. I had to throw out everything that the chemical touched as it was impossible to wash out the smell. My backpack, pants, shirt, even my shoes and the notebook I was carrying to take notes had to be thrown out. The smell stayed on my skin and in my hair for weeks after, which created an interesting conversation piece as everyone I would encounter gave me strange looks.
The families of the homes hit by the ‘Skunk’ on Friday will not be able to return for weeks. Their houses smell worse than dairy farms as the chemical has penetrated every surface. For them, it is another reminder of Israeli control over their lives. For the village, it is another price to pay for nonviolent resistance to domination.