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Palestinian youth use snakes to fight Israeli occupation

Young Palestinians are catching snakes and placing them in areas where Israeli soldiers and snipers hide during clashes and military raids
A Palestinian (not linked to the story) displaying a python in Betunia, West Bank on 27 September, 2014 (AFP)

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Catching snakes, a popular hobby among some Palestinian youths, has turned into a new tactic to fight back against Israeli occupation troops during the weekly clashes that break out in the town of Silwad, east of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

With repeated raids and clashes on Fridays, local activists and youth have become more innovative in repelling the soldiers.

The latest of these means is catching snakes from the local area and placing them where Israeli soldiers and snipers often hole up during clashes.

"This all started without planning where a number of young people caught snakes and had fun with them, and after puzzling over where to put them they decided to place them on the concrete blocks that the Israeli soldiers and snipers lean against, or on the ground near the same area," an activist from Silwad town, who preferred not to mention his name, said. 

"After seeing the soldiers’ reaction and their shock at the presence of snakes near them, and their backtracking and fear of being close to the snakes, the youth felt ecstatic and their morale was increased," the activist added.

Weekly clashes in Silwad town began around 18 months ago, after a farmer was assaulted and beaten by a group of settlers. Local residents responded by burning down one of the settlers' kiosks near the town.

After this, daily clashes broke out and have now turned into weekly clashes at the western entrance to Silwad, where the Israeli army maintains a permanent presence.

A number of Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank witness weekly clashes on land that has been confiscated for the benefit of settlers.

"During the hit-and-run operations, the youth are able to reach the point where the soldiers were based after their retreat, and are able to capture a number of tear gas and stun grenades that the soldiers leave when they escape," the source said. 

"The youth then begin to use them against the soldiers, either during the clashes or during the night raids that the town sometimes witnesses."

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