By Mohammed Othman
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A massive demonstration against the Wall was held in Jayyous on December 19, with about 700 people, mostly youth, protesting against the new path of the Wall that will permanently confiscate nearly 6,000 dunums of village land. The demonstration, which lasted for nearly five hours, resulted in several injuries to villagers, international solidarity activists, and four soldiers.
At 1:00 in the afternoon, the protesters began to march from the centre of the village, to the south gate of the Wall, which is the area that is slated to be re-routed. As they marched, Occupation forces did not stop them from reaching the gate, but rather they entered the village from two different directions, and stationed themselves in a manner that surrounded the demonstrators. Undeterred by their vulnerable position in the middle of the forces, however, the demonstrators continued to march, and when they reached the gate, several different community activists gave speeches to the crowd, reaffirming Jayyous’ resistance to the Wall, and denouncing the Occupation in general.
For approximately 45 minutes, the speeches continued without confrontation, and it was announced that the village would organize another demonstration next week. As this announcement was made, however, the Occupation forces began to close in on the protesters, and began taking pictures of the youth, in order to facilitate their targeting of the most active people in the future. In response to this, several youth began throwing stones at the forces.
The Occupation forces then began firing tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber bullets into the crowd. According to a Red Crescent doctor, one international was hit in the face by a rubber bullet and had to be taken away from the scene. One person was also arrested by the Occupation forces, but after being held for three hours, the international activists and local youth were able to secure his release. At one point, live bullets were used as well, as the forces attempted to use lethal methods against the protesting villagers. In the face of this violence, the demonstrators were forced to move back into the village, but the confrontations did not end there.
The Occupation forces were only able to enter the village on foot, as roadblocks set up by the villagers prevented the jeeps from entering. Taking advantage of this situation, village youth who were positioned on the roofs of buildings continued to rain stones down on the forces. Four members of the Occupation forces were injured by the barrage of stones, and the forces had no choice but to retreat from the village.
Once they retreated out of throwing distance, the forces fired more than 20 tear gas bombs into the village, causing several serious breathing problems. Two villagers had to be taken away in an ambulance as a result of inhaling too much tear gas.
Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, however, the people of Jayyous refused to back down from the Occupation’s violence and aggression. Led by the youth, villagers continued to chant slogans against the Occupation’s apartheid and against the Wall: “No matter what they do to our land, our land is inside of us, and our struggle will continue until the Wall is torn down.” Furthermore, The people asserted that the struggle and the resistance in Jayyous would not stop until the Wall is torn down, and until they are able to use their land again. This is the new generation of mobilization and resistance, with the youth leading the charge, and the spirit of collective action spreading across the West Bank.