Village near Bethlehem protests against the Wall
by Alice Grey, IMEMC, 11 May 2007
Prayers held at the land slated for annexation in Wadi Neiss (Photo: Alice Grey)
Approximately 50 protesters gathered in Wadi Niis on Friday to continue the weekly non-violent demonstrations against the construction of the Wall that have been happening in the area over the last few months. The wall, which is allegedly being built for the security of the nearby Efrat Settlement, will annex over 70% of the land belonging to the nearby village of Um Salamoneh.
This weeks action is part of the “Stop the Bleeding of Bethlehem” campaign launched few in April to nonviolently resist the wall in Bethlehem area. Several nonviolent actions have been organzied in Bethlehem area through the campaign since launched.
This week the protest had a dual theme, as speakers called for the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston, who is being held by an Islamist group in Gaza called the Army of Islam since March 12. Speakers stressed that the group is representing Palestine to the world, and that they should therefore conform to the non-violent ideology of those they claim to represent; and that all Palestinian groups should join hands in struggling against the Israeli Occupation, and that Mr Johnston, who has nothing to do with the Occupation and has in fact been a friend of the Palestinians, should be released without delay.
As usual, prayers were held on the land that is to be annexed. This week, the meeting took place on a field of vine trees that will soon be lost behind the wall; watched over by approximately 30 Israeli soldiers. After prayers, protesters moved to walk along the route the wall will take across the land but were prevented by the soldiers. Despite provocation by the soldiers who pushed and hit protesters, the non-violent character of the demonstration was maintained at all times. As soldiers tried to push the demonstrators back, they sat down on the road, calling “Where is the peace, where is the justice?” A sit-in was maintained for a short time before the demonstration peacefully dispersed.