With no preceding signs, Israel began one of the most brutal attacks against the Palestinian people. On 27 December 2008, Israeli bombs were being dropped over the people of Gaza. The massacre lasted 22 days and on the second day of the attack, the residents of Ni’lin began a demonstration which organised by the Ni’lin popular committee against the annexation wall at the checkpoint in the entrance of the village. Solidarity with Gaza is not accepted and Israeli armed forces used live ammunition, spraying several rounds at the young guys. Arafat Ratib Khawaja, 22, was shot in the back. Mohammad Khawaja 18,was shot in the head, above his right eyebrow and Mohammed Srour was shot in the leg. Arafat died that day and Mohammed remained comatose for 3 days and finally passed hours before the New Year began.
The Israeli occupation forces refused to allow an ambulance to enter the village. We carried Mohammed and Arafat to a truck, under the fire of tear-gas from soldiers. Only after what seemed like an eternity, did the soldiers give permission for the Red Crescent to transfer Mohammed and Arafat.
We lost two more of Ni’lin’s sons, for protesting the atrocities that had begun in Gaza. We had already lost two in the beginning of the summer. Ahmed Mousa, who was ten, was killed with live ammunition on 29 July 2008. He had been playing with His friends on village lands and a soldier had shot him point blank at close range. During his funeral the next day, Yousef Amira, who was 17, was shot in the head with rubber bullet and died 3 days later in a Ramallah hospital.
The Israeli army was trying to stop our unarmed demonstrations with extreme force. Ni’lin has a remaining (7000) dunams (2800 acres), 30% of it’s original size.
Israeli illegal settlements have been built where our ancient olive groves once stood. Our livelihoods have been robbed, as Israel continues to confiscate more land under the guise of security.
A road was built in the middle of our village, to connect the settlements to ‘Israel proper’. I remember a demonstration against the construction of the settlement of Kiryat Sefer. The army shot a Ni’lin man named Attallah Amirah in the head with live ammunition in 1997. He was 38 and He had four daughters and four sons.the eldest was 18 years old and the mother was Pregnant with the youngest whose name is Atallah too.
But we continued, after the deaths of Arafat and Mohammed. Because we cannot sit as our land is taken. In the spring of 2009, Aqil Srour was shot with a 0.22 caliber in his chest as he was reaching to help another boy from the village who was shot. His wife was expecting another child.
The death of Aqil shocked me more than the others. I met him when I was arrested for participating in demonstrations. He really took care of me and helped me through prison and we had developed a bond.
Today 07.01.2011 Ni’lin’s demonstration was in memory of muhammed and arafat khawaja, commemorating the second anniversary of the killing of muhammed and arafat who been brutally killed by the zionist occupation forces in 27.12.2008.
The massive demonstration which organised by the Ni’lin popular committee against the annexation wall and settlements began after the Friday prayer in the land,and joined by the people of Ni’lin village together with number of israeli peace activists.shouting slogans against the massacre that israel did in gaza and in Ni’lin village too.
Once the demonstators reached the gate of the concrete wall the israeli occupation forces started shooting Poison gas bombs heavily which caused to dozens suffer from the tear gas inhalation, one guy got shot in the leg with the tear gaz bomb.Then the sodiers opened the gate and went out the gate running toward the demonstrators to catch them and arrest them, shooting rubber bullets and tear gas bombs at the demonstrators and even live bullets to scare the demonstrators, until they reached the village they started shooting tear gas bombs at the houses of the innocent people.
The demonstraton finished at 3:00 pm
Palestine is occupied and we will not stop until it is free.