International Solidarity Movement
6 May 2010Sitting peacefully in front of the formidable D9 Caterpillar bulldozer, demonstrators were successful today in temporarily halting construction of Israel’s illegal annexation wall. In the village of Al Walaja, approximately 20 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists disrupted work on the wall for nearly 30 minutes. Highlighting the systematic racism of Israeli apartheid, soldiers specifically targeted Palestinian participants. While internationals and Israelis were virtually ignored, Palestinians were brutally beaten and pepper sprayed, resulting in three hospitalizations. Three Palestinians and one international were arrested. After gathering in the village, demonstrators walked down a hillside to access the massive, dusty swath of ex-farmland where the wall is to be built. Sitting in front of the bulldozer and linking arms, the action proved successful in delaying construction of the wall which will claim nearly all of Al Walaja’s land. Approximately 15 soldiers and border police then attacked the non-violent demonstrators, separating Palestinians from the group and pepper spraying some directly in the eyes while beating others. After arresting three Palestinians, Israeli military returned to violently rip apart international and Israeli activists. Several reported minor injuries, and one international was arrested. Currently three Palestinians remain hospitalized. Beatings resulted in one broken rib and one broken leg, and a third victim has impaired hearing due to receiving pepper spray directly in the ear. Of those arrested, at least one had been pepper sprayed directly in the eyes without receiving proper medical treatment afterwards. http://www.youtube.com/user/klamathmedia#p/a/u/0/O6J4h4_icKY
This is third time bulldozers have been stopped in Al Walaja, which is located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. After 1967, the village was annexed into Jerusalem, although villagers did not receive city residency. The settlements Gilo and Har Gilo are located on Al Walaja land, although villagers cannot build on their own lots. Because the village is in “Area C”, building permits must be granted by the Israeli government. Between 2000 and 2007, over 94% of permits were denied. Upon completion of the wall, Al Walaja will be almost entirely trapped, with access limited to just two guarded checkpoints. Over 5,000 dunums will be annexed into Jerusalem by the wall, virtually all of the village’s farmland.