19 August 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
A joyful demonstration occurred in Kufr Qaddoum today, when more than 100 demonstrators successfully cut open and tore down a razor wire fence on a road leading to Nablus just outside the city.
The demonstration began at around 12:30 p.m., when about 100 Palestinians and 15 international activists began to march down the main road of Kufr Qaddoum. Amid the clapping and chanting, they encountered around 20 armed soldiers further down the road towards the settlement of Qadumim, standing about 50 meters beyond a razor wire fence that blocked the road at waist’s length. As the soldiers and Palestinians watched, a few ISM activists used wire cutters to sever the fence, and dragged it off to the side. The crowd erupted in cheering, and after 20 seconds the soldiers began firing volleys of tear gas into the crowd. At that point, a cat-and-mouse game ensued for about 20 minutes between Palestinians and soldiers, whereby the former threw stones and the latter shot tear gas. Through the course of the demonstration, soldiers fired tear gas at protesters’ bodies and faces, and on at least 2 occasions fired high velocity tear gas canisters.
The deliberate act of cutting the wire fence, in plain view and in plain defiance of Israeli soldiers and the illegal settlement, inspired feelings of great hope and perseverance among Palestinians and activists alike. This was the 9th week of Friday protests, organized by the Popular Committee in Kufr Qaddoum since the beginning of July. The main road, which has been used by residents of the land for centuries, has been closed at portions by the Israeli government for nine years, as part of the expansion and colonial policies resulting from the illegal settlement Qadumim, which was established in 1975. Because of the settlement, which itself occupies 600 donums of land, there is now an Israeli Military Camp on Kufr Qaddoum land, many colonial neighborhoods have been established around the settlement, and more than 3,000 olive trees have been uprooted. After this great success, the weekly protests at Kufr Qaddoum will surely continue well into the future.