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“I used to dream about my future. About going to university, getting married and having a family. I stopped doing that. I have to face that tomorrow I might be dead.” – Quote by a 16-year-old boy from Ni’lin when talking about the military violence in the village of Ni’lin
On Tuesday September 9th, the pupils of the boys school in the West Bank village of Ni’lin started a protest against the building of the apartheid wall and the violent occupation they are put under by the Israeli army.
The army ambushed the protesting children while they were still inside the village, heavily tear-gassing the girls school and the gardens around. The army shot live ammunition at the young protesters as well as huge amounts of rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas.
50 girls needed medical assistance after their school had been heavily tear gassed. Three boys were hit by rubber coated steel bullets, one by a tear gas canister shot directly at his leg. Eye witnesses also report a young man was grazed by a live bullet on his hand.
At approximately 9am the boys of Ni’lin started the protest against the apartheid wall. The army answered back on the protest with an ambush, they shot tear gas inside the village around the girl school which resulted in panic among the girls and a pregnant woman being heavily gassed. Gardens were attacked on purpose with tear gas so little children had to run into their houses in fear, in an attempt to avoid the heavy clouds of gas surrounding them.
Live ammunition, rubber coated steel bullets and huge amounts of tear gas were used towards the protesters.
Ni’lin serves at the moment as the centre of education, health and economy for the surrounding villages. The secondary school of Ni’lin is the top school of the area and students from the surrounding villages attend it as well as the villagers themselves. Factories producing soft drinks and rubber are placed in Ni’lin. With the building of the illegal apartheid wall and the planned tunnel as the only possible entrance to the village the pupils from the surrounding villages face trouble getting to the school. Some because their way to school gets much longer since they stop being able to go directly and for all is the fact that the tunnel will close at 7 pm and is possible to shut down with only one military jeep worrying since it will make the pupils education relying on the occupation power that, so far, has shown no humanity to the Palestinians in the area.
The factories will with the cut off from the rest of the West Bank, that the wall and the tunnel creates, have to either move to another place or shut down hence people will lose their jobs.
In 1948 the villagers of Ni’lin owned 58,000 dunums, already in 1948 40,000 dunums of Ni’lin land was stolen by the new state of Israel, building of settlements and apartheid roads have caused continued annexation. The construction of the wall and the tunnel steals 2500 dunums of land from the villagers of Ni’lin leaving them with only 2300 dunums of their farming land.
This is what the pupils of Ni’lin protest against, the destruction of their present possibility of getting an education and their future possibility of getting a job. Their ability to even dream about tomorrow.