On December 6, presumably in response to a stone-throwing incident, Israeli Defense Forces fired dozens of tear gas canisters and other weapons at the Wi’am building and yard. Electricity lines into Wi’am’s building were damaged, outdoor lighting destroyed, one large shade structure burned, another shade torn down and damaged, the fence separating Wi’am from its neighbors partially destroyed, and fire and debris left the meeting yard a mess.
“In the morning, Wia’m staff were shocked to see that our playground sustained significant material damages to the infrastructure as a result of inflammable Gas canisters that the Israeli soldiers have thrown at the center. The damaged items in the playground were chairs, the shade, electric installations and lighting.
In the name of the community and beneficiaries, Wi’am categorically condemned such intransigence that put more strains/burden on our work and disrupts our outreach work with families, children, women and young people.”
Wi’am is the Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center in Bethlehem founded by Zoughbi Zoughbi. Wi’am’s building, playground, and gardens are located immediately next to the Separation Wall, at the point where the Wall surrounds Rachel’s Tomb. Because the main Guard Tower is on that corner, this is ground zero for protests. Wi’am Center has frequently had to deal with damage from the protests and the IDF response, but this incident is the worst so far.