On Sunday, March 30th, more than 200 protesters took to the main street in Umm Salamuna to demonstrate against the Apartheid wall. What is usually a small weekly demonstration in Umm Salamuna, was this week host to an increased amount of demonstrators in honor of Land Day. Local community members, students from El Sawara high school from the nearby El Masara village, 5 Israelis and 3 Internationals attended this weeks protest. But this increased amount of protesters meant a higher level of military presence. The demonstrators walked from the center of Umm Salamuna and up the main road, where they were stopped by the army who had blocked the road with barbed wire. Four people suffered minor injuries, when the army physically pushed the protesters away with the barbed wire.
Two members of the community spoke about land day and the significance of the 1976 events when 6 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army. They also sent out a call for solidarity to the Arab Nations meeting in Damascus this week
To date, 14 km of the wall have been completed in the Umm Salamuna area. The construction of the apartheid wall in this area, 12 km from the green line, means the confiscation of thousands of dunums of fertile farm land from the local people. This land will be annexed to the nearby Efrat settlement, which has announced the construction of 54 additional housing units. Local farmers access to the land has been made difficult; daily, they are harassed or denied access to their land by the Israeli army.
Water accessibility has also become a problem in Umm Salamuna. The Efrat settlement is polluting their source of water, as well as leaving only a short supply of water, especially in the summer months, for the local Palestinian villages.