Approximately 50 Palestinians, Israelis and international solidarity workers united for another Friday non-violent march in Wadi-Al-Neiss, a village south of Bethlehem which, along with nearby Um Salamuna, is among the many regions suffering from land confiscation due to the illegal Israeli Apartheid Wall.
Marchers convened and attempted to walk on stolen lands, lands illegally taken by the Israeli expansionist regime. The internationally illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat, a long and extended expanse of stolen land, designed to appropriate as much land as possible, snakes through Palestinian property, effectively dividing up the land and stealing precious water.
The march occurred just days after the 3 year anniversary of the International Court of Justice ruling denouncing the Apartheid Wall as internationally illegal and calling for the cessation of construction, along with due compensation to Palestinians affected by its construction.
One Palestinian from the Local Popular Committee of Land Defense and one of the organizers of the non-violent march, was arrested as he stood unarmed among peaceful demonstrators. Fines for such unwarranted arrests range from 3,000 to 7,000 NIS.
The attempted march lasted for approximately 1.5 hours, during which time marchers attempted numerous times to cross onto annexed agricultural lands. In between attempts to walk on the stolen land, during which armed soldiers used some force against unarmed protesters, resulting in at least 5 minor injuries, solidarity activists made numerous attempts to engage in dialog with soldiers on human rights issues, Israel’s violations of international law, the illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and of the Apartheid Wall, and the need for Palestinians to be able to access their own lands, much of which are income and food-providing agricultural lands.
Marchers left as peacefully as they arrived, with renewed promises to demonstrate against the illegal land-grab and to reach the Israeli-annexed Palestinian lands.