Israel attacks S African lawmakers
Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:24PM
South African lawmakers say they were attacked and injured by Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Bethlehem during an official visit.
A group of South African lawmakers, who visited the West Bank city of Ramallah last week, said on Friday that Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at them after they attended an anti-settlement demonstration in a Palestinian village near Bethlehem, Ynet reported.
According to local South African media, apart from the impact of the tear gas, the lawmakers suffered from "earaches and mild injuries."
The delegation of 18 South African lawmakers arrived in Ramallah from Jordan as the Fatah movement's guests and the visit was coordinated with the Israeli foreign ministry.
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank hold peaceful anti-settlement and anti-occupation rallies every week. Visiting officials from all over the world frequently attend the anti-Israeli demonstrations criticizing Tel Aviv's harsh policies against Palestinians.
In October, former US president Jimmy Carter and former Irish president Mary Robinson and Indian women's union leader Ela Bhatt joined hundreds of protesters in the weekly anti-settlement demonstration in the East al-Quds (Jerusalem) neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and called the expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian lands an obstacle to peace.
Israel occupied the West Bank, including East al-Quds, during the Six Day War in 1967 and has settled around 500,000 Jews in the occupied area. Constructing settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory is illegal under international law.
Palestinians believe that expansion of Jewish settlements on their occupied lands will make the establishment of a Palestinian state impossible.