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Um Salamuna: Defending the Land

July 6th, 2007. At around 11:00, 60 Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists gathered in the trees in Um Salamuna above the place where the apartheid wall is to be built. There were Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the hill across from us, watching while we happily wasted their weekend time. Palestinians and internationals gathered to pray, and afterwards we walked down chanting to where they were building the wall.

We arrived to where the soldiers and border police were waiting and they tried to stop us from moving. We pushed forward and they pushed us back with their shields. We then sat down and chanted and clapped. The soldiers surrounded us and the mayor of the settlement on the hill watched us, smiling. One speaker said that the land they were on was his, and that his face was like stone, whereas the face of the mayor, from Russia, was like snow.

We stood up and the police again formed a line, preparing to use their shields against us, but we walked the other way. As they stood in the dust we created, we walked across the road and began picking the grape leaves and almonds that belong to the Palestinians. After some time soldiers were making their way towards us, we heard sirens, saw dogs and the rest of the group on the road told us to come back as jeeps were approaching.

We came off the Palestinian land on to the road and the site of the apartheid walls construction as a jeep was being blocked by our group in the road. We surrounded the jeep much to the dismay of the soldiers inside who at times tried to go through us but could not. Then we began to decorate the jeep with the grape leaves we collected by means of the netting on top. This unfortunately did not cover the jeep in beauty, but in shame.

The other soldiers then approached, surrounded the jeep and pushed us away. We marched back to the top of the hill. No one was hurt, no one arrested, and we showed that people from Palestine, Israel, and all over the world will not stand by as Israel, illegally steals more and more land.