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Demonstrations across West Bank reflect growing momentum

International Solidarity Movement

3 May 2010

Non-violent demonstrations against the apartheid are growing

Non-violent demonstrations against the apartheid are growing

Between Friday and Sunday, more than 600 demonstrators protested the apartheid, land confiscation and the illegal wall in eight West Bank locations. These weekly demonstrations reflect the growing momentum of popular non-violent resistance, despite violent responses by the Israeli military.

Four were detained in Bil’in, including two Al-Jazeera reporters, as demonstrators gathered for the popular weekly protest against the Israeli apartheid and illegal wall. After speeches given in honor of International Workers’ Day, demonstrators marched towards the wall, where they were met with tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers. Soldiers entered the village several times in attempts to make arrests. Two were injured by flying tear gas canisters, just a week after Emad Rezqa suffered a fractured skull in Bil’in from a gas canister fired directly at his head. The demonstration was one of many global actions this week calling for the Irish multinational firm CRH to divest from its links to Nesher Cement. Nesher is the only Israeli cement company, meaning that it supplies cement for construction of the wall, settlements and other infrastructures of apartheid, all illegal under international law.

Approximately 50 demonstrators gathered for midday prayers before walking to the Western end of the illegal wall which bounds the town of Ni’lin on two sides. After facing Israeli military jeeps on the opposite side of the wall, the demonstration returned to the village in response to the invasion of a military jeep. The jeep retreated, at which point demonstrators returned to the wall and were met with a barrage of tear gas. Since May 2008, five demonstrators have been killed in Ni’lin, and American ISM activist Tristan Anderson was critically injured 13 months ago.

Qarrawat Bani Hassan
Nearly surrounded by settlements and facing continual land confiscation, villagers from Qarrawat Bani Hassan gathered with visiting Palestinians and internationals for a weekly work party. Springs near the village, dating to Roman times, have repeatedly been vandalized by Israelis from the nearby illegal settlements, most recently on March 8th, 2010. Although it is believed that the most recent destruction of the springs was in retaliation for the weekly gatherings, villagers have not been deterred and continue in their work to build a park near the springs.

This Friday, workers planted trees and built a trail. A past mayor of Al Bireh attended and spoke to volunteers about the role of community work in building cohesive resistance to the occupation, based on his experiences in the late 1960’s.

Al Ma’asara
A group of about 25 demonstrated in the agrarian village of Al Ma’asara, near Bethlehem, after midday prayers on Friday. Speeches were delivered in Arabic, Hebrew and English to the crowd of Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals. Soldiers obstructed the road with razor wire during the demonstration, preventing cars from passing. This included an ill woman traveling to a nearby clinic.

Al Walaja
Protesting the illegal wall which will completely surround Al Walaja and confiscate nearly all of the village’s land, approximately 60 Palestinian, Israeli and International demonstrators gathered Friday. Speeches were delivered by local and regional residents after the demonstrators marched across the bulldozered swath of land. Bulldozing recently began for the wall, which will claim nearly 5000 dunums of farmland and separate the village from nearby Jerusalem and Bethlehem.