There appears to be more Israeli soldiers in force today in Beit El, north of Ramallah, scattered along the hilltops close to the illegal settlement. The air is tense as the soldiers hold back from firing the amount of rubber bullets and tear-gas they are known to be capable of. Palestinian protestors know if it is silent and appears calm on the Israeli soldiers end of a clash, a plan is most likely about to erupt.
Without fail, Israeli soldiers start running in from both sides, this time in full uniform, unlike last week when ‘mustarabeen’ infiltrated the protestors. There is chaos as they try to catch as many youth as they can. For a minute, a few look defeated and swear out loud as some Palestinians escape their hands. Shots are fired and one Palestinian is debilitated. Two soldiers pick up the man and hold him down against the roundabout in the center of the road.
Sound bombs are rapidly fired and explode into the air, sending fear and chaos to all at the scene. This gives enough time for close to 20 soldiers to gather around the one man they managed to arrest. The soldiers, full of aggression, fire their guns as continuously as possible into the air and at the surrounding crowd. They’re guarding their new prisoner, kicking and pushing back journalists, pointing guns in their faces as well as the Red Crescent workers trying to get to the man who is bleeding. It’s mayhem. One of the first aid workers fall back after having a gun shoved into his eye.
“We are a service for the people, they shouldn’t hurt us,” a young Red Crescent worker told Mondoweiss. “One of our team, got shot in the eye and was taken to hospital,” he continued to explain. This doesn’t scare the remaining team though. “Although we suffer from the IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) we will keep doing our job because it’s a service for the people.” Another round of tear gas is fired, a stronger kind than the last days, dispersing the crowd enough for the soldiers to drive the arrested man away.
A 23-year-old protester from Ramallah said Palestinian people are accustomed to this type of attack from Israel. “The soldiers came from all around, shot that guy, attacked him and arrested him,” he said, wearing an Anonymous mask. “We are familiar with such events from the Israeli soldiers; arresting people, attacking Red Crescent [workers], even journalists.” The 23-year-old has been at Beit El every day since Trump’s announcement. “We are going to do everything in order to keep this revolution against Israel and Trump,” he said, not fazed by what had just happened.
All the Palestinian protesters are clearly prepared when the soldiers are initially so quiet. “We always feel something will happen, and the Israeli soldiers have planned to attack us suddenly,” a 33-year-old protester stated. “So we always try to be careful and go to spots we feel are safe,” he continued. “We feel bad about this though, because we cannot protect ourselves if the Israeli soldiers come to arrest us, beat or shoot us.”
It’s the third Friday of Rage since Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, and the day after the UN Assembly draft resolution vote, where 128 countries called for the US to overturn it’s decision to move the US embassy. “Of course I’m so happy for this vote, I feel finally people are with Palestine and besides Palestinians against the decision of Trump,” the 33-year-old expressed. He feels the Palestinian issue has finally come in front of the world’s eyes. “They are looking at us again, [thinking] ‘ok there are Palestinian people and they should have their rights,’” he explained. The Anonymous masked protestor agrees. “For sure I care about the UN resolution. It means that 128 countries know that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, not Israel,” he said.
A member for Committee of Elections in Palestine was present at the clashes today in Ramallah, quite out of the ordinary for an official. Independent member Fareed Tamanlah said all Palestinians should come to the streets, to refuse the American and Israeli position on Jerusalem. “There is no practical step that can be taken after the UN Assembly resolution, so we Palestinians need to do something on the ground, to continue to refuse the embassy move,” Tamanlah said. “I’m not expecting many things from the international community, so Palestinians should do what should be done, we don’t have to wait for the international community to help.”
The 34-year-old protestor sees a difference in the way the Palestinian Authority (PA) is standing up for the Palestinian cause after Trump’s announcement. “Before Trump’s declaration the PA were silent, doing nothing about Palestinian issues,” he said, as ambulance sirens blared. “But after the decision, it gives me comfort the PA are coming back to do things for Palestine. I’m afraid the Israeli occupation will do more than what they already do, such as killing Palestinians and taking our land. I hope the PA has success.”
According to the Red Crescent Society as of 4:00 pm, a total of five people had been taken to hospital in Ramallah, two with live fire injuries. The clashes continued until dark. Across the whole of the West Bank, 103 Palestinians had been injured in total, seven from live bullets. The Palestinian Ministry of Health stated two people had been killed in the Gaza Strip in the same day and 70 more injured, as reported by Aljazeera.
The number of Palestinians killed, injured and arrested in the two and a half weeks since Trump’s announcement isn’t going to make them stop protesting any time soon, even if the UN has stood with their cause. “We insist to continue telling the world that Jerusalem is Palestine’s capital, not Israel’s,” the 34-year-old protestor explained. Along with this, they hope the media will correctly show the force used by Israeli soldiers against them. “We hope the press and journalists will tell people about these demonstrations, and even though we don’t use violence, the IOF soldiers shoot us, beat us and arrest us.”