BILIN, West Bank (AP) — Residents of this Palestinian village have planted flowers in hundreds of spent Israeli tear gas grenades to honor those killed during their weekly protests against Israel's West Bank separation barrier.
Mohammed Khatib, a village organizer, said Wednesday that the unusual garden is meant to show that life can spring from death. Bilin has become a symbol of Palestinian protests against Israeli policies in the West Bank. The village's struggle to regain land taken by the barrier was the subject of "Five Broken Cameras," a documentary nominated for an Oscar last year.
Palestinians say the barrier, which cuts into the West Bank, amounts to a land grab. Israel says it's needed to keep Palestinian attackers out. The Bilin garden commemorates Bassem Abu Rahmeh, a protest leader who was killed in 2009 when a tear gas grenade struck him in the chest during a demonstration. Bassem's sister, Jawaher, died nearly two years later, a day after a weekly protest during which villagers said she inhaled Israeli tear gas.
During West Bank protests, Israeli troops often fire tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and occasionally live rounds, portraying them as appropriate means against Palestinian stone throwers. Here is a gallery of images from AP photographer Majdi Muhammad.
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