A Mass Demonstration Against the Annexation Wall, South Bethlehem
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
25 April 2007
This Friday, April 27, Palestinian residents of the south Bethlehem area are calling on international and Israeli anti-Apartheid activists to join them in a mass demonstration against Israel’s Apartheid Wall.
Palestinians must take a bypass road to the Beit Fajjar junction. Israelis and international activists are expected to meet at the Gush Etzion junction on Route 60, where they will then meet up with the Palestinians at the Beit Fajjar nearby. Palestinians will pray at the junction near the Israeli settlements of Efrat and Gush Etzion, then demonstrate against the Apartheid Wall.
Activists will join the residents of all of the villages and towns being hurt by the erection of the annexation wall around the settlements of Gush Etzion and Efrat for a mass procession and demonstration. For many weeks the residents who live in villages and towns to the south and west of Bethlehem have been holding weekly demonstrations against Apartheid Wall that is being built on Palestinian lands. This week, for the first time, a non-violent protest will be held in which the residents of all of the villages that are affected by the wall, including residents from Beit-Jala, Walaja and Btttir in the North to Um Salamuna, Beit Ummar, Surif and Al-Jaba in the South.
Destruction of the land and uprooting of trees by Israeli bulldozers are currently happening to make way for the Apartheid Wall. Mahmoud Zawahira, from the village of Umm Salamuna, called on internationals and Israelis to join in on the demonstration, saying, “before we are caged in like animals behind walls of concrete, let’s come together to stop the destruction and share our stories with the world.”
When asked about what he thinks may happen at the demo, Mahmoud said, “We will chant songs of freedom and show symbols of Occupation. We are expecting attacks from the Israeli settlers and hope that internationals and Israeli activists come to witness and to help.”
Internationals and Israelis will meet at the Gush Etzion Junction and Palestinians will gather at the Beit Fajjar Junction at 11am. The demonstration will begin at 11:30 and is expected to last about 2 hours.
For more information, contact:
Mahmoud Zawahira, 0599-586-004, 0522-591-386
ISM Media Office, 0599-943-157, 02-297-1824
In addition to the separation fence that is beeing built close to the Green Line north and west of the Gush Etzion Settlements, another wall is built that will effectively close off the area from the west and south and whose goal is to isolate the Gush Etzion region from the western West Bank. This is part of the declared plan of the Israeli government to annex settlement clusters. Not only will 60,000 dunams of land be expropriated, but nineteen thousand Palestinians will be caged in by the enclaves created by this wall, and thus will be cut off from their land, medical and educational services, sources of employment, outlets for their agricultural produce, and from community and family connections.
The fate of these nineteen thousand Palestinians is clear: For most, life in the ghetto will prove intolerable and they will be forced to leave their homes and land – easy prey for proponents of annexation and real estate sharks; the rest, the weaker and the more submissive, will live without rights and will supply cheap labor for the building of settlements.
This wall will also spell disaster for those residents who border on the enclave from the outside, since it is being built on the agricultural lands which supply the livelihood of many residents from Beit Jala in the north to Beit Umar in the south; it will also cut them off from most of their land, which will be closed off inside the enclave. For these residents as well, the wall’s meaning is poverty and hunger, since the land that they will no longer be able to reach has become the last means of livelihood left to them.
This is not a security fence. This is a wall of annexation, expulsion, and oppression.
It is not yet too late to stop the bulldozers from turning the vineyards and the fruit orchards into dust, but if we do not join the struggle today, in just a few weeks this nightmare will be realized and become an established fact.