Shaar Binyamin, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - Around 80 Palestinian and international activists on Wednesday staged an unexpected protest inside an Israeli supermarket in the West Bank, police and an AFP correspondent said.
The incident took place at the Rami Levy supermarket located in the Shaar Binyamin commercial centre on a highway just north of Jerusalem.
The low-cost supermarket, which is very close to Geva Binyamin, is not technically located inside the fence of the settlement, and is therefore accessible by both settlers and Palestinians.
Waving dozens of Palestinian flags and banners in English and Arabic reading “Boycott occupation and its products” they pushed their way into the shop where they shouted slogans, the correspondent said.
Shortly afterwards, around 50 Israeli soldiers and police arrived at the scene and herded them out where they continued their protest, he said, indicating that troops used stun grenades to break up the crowd.
Abir Kopty, spokeswoman for a coalition of grassroots activists known as the Popular Struggle Committees, said police and troops “physically attacked the demonstrators and fired stun grenades at them,” with two of them taken to hospital.
She said one of those who was hurt and subsequently arrested was Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi, who has played a central role in the weekly protests at Nabi Saleh village near Ramallah against settler takeover of their land.
“Four people, including Bassem Tamimi, head of the Popular Committee of Nabi Saleh, were beaten and arrested by Israeli police,” she said in a statement, adding: “Tamimi’s ribs were broken.”
“As long as there is no justice to Palestinians, Israeli and settler daily life can’t continue on as normal.”
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said around 70 to 80 activists had taken part in an “illegal demonstration” in the Rami Levy car park with police and troops using “riot dispersal means” to break up the protest.
She said four people were arrested – two foreign women, a US citizen and a Polish citizen, and two Palestinians.
Tamimi, who has been acknowledged by the European Union as a human rights defender, was recently convicted by an Israeli military court for protesting illegally and encouraging youths to throw stones.
In late May, he was sentenced to 30 months jail, but he had already served 13 months so the remaining 17 months were suspended for five years, with the judge saying the sentence would be activated if Tamimi took part in any “public disorder.”