In this scene you are looking into the village of Ni’lin from its main entrance. The photo was taken around 4pm after the funeral of Ahmed Mousa, the 10 year old boy shot dead on 30th July 2008.
There are about 20 soldiers stationed here in 3 jeeps. To the left and behind the photo is the bakers house with the family locked inside and 3 soldiers on the roof.
Outside the village is a road which leads to nearby settlements. About 200m down it is a checkpoint which I believe will become part of the separation barrier as it is constructed here. And this is what it is all about of course.
In the distance are ‘shabab’ or youths – about 10 to 15 – throwing stones at these soldiers and shouting comments, probably not very nice ones. The road blocks are intended to stop the army coming into the village. The area stinks from the tear gas that has landed on it over the last 24 hours.
The distance is just enough for a stone to reach after bouncing several times on the floor. So not a great danger. One stone, the size of half a fist bounced in a knocked the toe of a solder standing to the left and he looked upset by that.
There is a lot of standing around going on. From time to time a stone will come and something will be shouted at the soldiers. They might reply with a tear gas round fired directly (rather than arcing one through the sky) or a rubber bullet. I saw at least two hits to the legs in this time. That is some pretty good shooting.
Behind the jeep to the left is a soldier leaning against the wall busy shooting the occasional rubber bullet – and just to mention it these are steel or brass cylinders coated in a thin layer of rubber, not soft and bouncey as you might imagine, similar in weight to a car wheel nut.
See: www.flickr.com/photos/kamshabam/503309519/ and www.flickr.com/photos/16883316@N03/2289392766/
A friend John, a photographer got a great image of this ‘sniper’ for want of a better word shooting while his colleague leans his head against the door of the jeep with his arms hanging down by his side in exasperation or tiredness.
According to local and international eyewitnesses, around 7.30pm, after more of the same for 3 or so hours, one of these jeeps drove up towards the road blocks and fired rubber bullets from the jeep at a range of around 10m at a boy (18) and damaged his skull. He lies brain dead in hospital now.