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Anti-Wall protest in Bethlehem halted by Israeli Forces

Anti-Wall protest in Bethlehem by Palestinian workers in honor of Labor Day
by Geroge Rishmawi, 4 May 2007

Photo, George Rishmawi

Some two hundred peaceful demonstrators in Bethlehem protested on Friday against the construction of the annexation wall in the village of Wadi Al-Neiss. The demonstration included mostly Palestinian workers in addition to international peace activists and observers to commemorate Labor day on May 1.

A large number of Israeli soldiers stopped the demonstrators who carried signs demanding an end to the construction of the wall which is annexing a very wide agricultural area to Israel. Troops prevented the demonstrators from reaching the construction site and attempted to arrest one of the protesters, however, other demonstrators managed to release him, before he was taken by the soldiers.

The protest started with the Friday prayers being held in the village close to the confiscated land. Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, Minister of Information and a number of Parliament Members in addition to the governor of Bethlehem Mr. Salah Al-Taamari joined the action. Dr. Barghouthi spoke to the crowed quoting the Minister of Interior of South Africa who was visiting Bethlehem before the action, that “the apartheid system Israel is making will fall as it fell in South Africa”.

Several other local leaders spoke, including Shaher Sa’ed, head of the Union of Palestinian Workers, who emphasized that the construction of the wall is not for security, but to increase poverty in Palestine, by separating Palestinians from their main source of income.

Samer Jaber, one of the organizers of the event, said this nonviolent action in Wadi Al-Neiss is part of the Stop the Bleeding of Bethlehem campaign which was launched two weeks ago with the goal of mobilizing the people of Bethlehem to resist the various forms of the Israeli occupation, including the wall, settlements, military checkpoints and roadblocks.