2007 Breaking News

Oded Balilty, The Associated Press

Defending the Barricade

On Feb. 1, 2006, Associated Press photographer Oded Balilty was in the West Bank settlement of Amona when a violent confrontation broke out between Jewish settlers and Israeli security forces. The troops were attempting to enforce a government order to tear down nine houses built on private Palestinian land after Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a final appeal by the settlers.

Balilty, camera ready, stood about 3 meters from the end of the barricade. Crowds lined up on a wall overlooking the holed-up settlers, while Israeli troops in riot gear advanced. “Nili, a young settler … was standing 15 meters away, biting her fingernails, when she saw them coming and ran toward the barricade,” Balilty said.

Said Nili: “I felt a stranger pushing me to defend the barricade. It was God who gave me the courage.”

Moments after Balilty took the photograph that won him the Pulitzer Prize, Nili was beaten by club-wielding police.