***image2***Hundreds of villagers in Marda and Bilâin clashed with Occupation Forces as Friday saw several demonstrations held across the West Bank, as the climax to a week of events marking the 38th Naksa Day â the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 and the extension of the Zionist project of Apartheid, Colonization and Expulsion into these areas. Dozens of Palestinians were injured as the Occupation fired tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets at demonstrators. In the village of Idhna in Hebron district, a 14-year old girl was hit in the chest by a rubber bullet while demonstrating against the Apartheid Wallâs theft of the villageâs lands.
In Marda, demonstrators were attacked with tear gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets as they attempted to reach lands being bulldozed for the Apartheid Wall. More than twenty villagers received treatment for injuries, including three hit by rubber bullets. Early in the morning the Occupation set up a number of roadblocks and imposed curfews on villages throughout Salfit district, in an attempt to suppress the demonstration. Determined to carry on their resistance, villagers marched from the middle of the village to hold prayers on the confiscated land. Occupation Forces fired tear gas into the demonstrators, who responded with stones.
Villagers reported that the Occupation used a new type of tear gas, emitting a green smoke that made many villagers violently ill, including four women at work in a local sewing factory. The women were taken to hospital. Tear gas canisters were also fired at the village mosque, smashing windows and injuring two worshippers inside.
The village of Marda has lost around 950 dunums of its land to the expansion of the nearby Ariel settlement, the construction of Jewish-only bypass roads and the route of the Apartheid Wall itself. The village will be almost completely encircled and ghettoized by the Wall and the bypass roads. Occupation surveyors and Wall path technicians have already begun the initial work for the construction of the Wall, with the confiscated land due to be destroyed over the next few months.
In Bilâin, demonstrators forced the Occupation Forces to retreat to the edge of the villageâs lands. Around 250 villagers marched towards the lands being confiscated and razed for the construction of the Apartheid Wall. Villagers symbolically tied their hands together to protest the Occupationâs imprisonment of the village and of the West Bank. Before the protestors could reach their fields, Occupation Forces set up a barbed wire roadblock and fired tear gas into the crowd. Villagers returned a hail of stones, as the Occupation Forces entered the village and shot tear gas canisters towards the houses. At least one protestor was hit directly as canisters were fired at chest height. Undeterred, villagers continued their resistance and eventually pushed the Occupation Forces out of the village.
Bilâin, has been the scene of intense resistance over the last four months. Occupation bulldozers entered the village in February to confiscate farmland and uproot olive trees. More than half the villageâs lands will be isolated behind the Apartheid Wall and will be used for the expansion of the nearby settlements of Menora and Mattityahu East. Villagers have organized demonstrations on an almost daily basis, mobilizing support from villages throughout the district.
In Hebron district, around 700 villagers in Arab Ramadin staged a public prayer on lands to be confiscated for the Apartheid Wall. Palestinian flags and banners calling for the fall of the Apartheid Wall were raised over the land. Occupation Forces imposed curfews and set up roadblocks throughout the area to prevent farmers from other villages joining the demonstration, but the villagers in Ramadin continued their resistance.
The week of mass demonstrations began on Friday 3rd June as part of a weekâs events organized by the Popular Committees to Resist the Apartheid Wall to mark the 38th anniversary of the Naksa. The theft of Palestinian land, and the ultimate goal of expelling the entire Palestinian people, continues today in the form of the Apartheid Wall. Thousands of Palestinians have taken part in the weekâs events â mostly in villages being devastated by the construction of the Wall. These include:
- Friday June 3rd: 1,000 protestors in Bilâin are attacked after holding prayers on their land
Saturday June 4th: Demonstrators in Marda close down a settlerâs bypass road
Sunday June 5th: Protestors from throughout Jerusalem and Ramallah districts are assaulted by Occupation Forces in Beit Surik
Monday June 6th: Protestors from 15 villages in Tulkarem district rally at the âAl Karakâ gate which controls their access to their fields.
Tuesday June 7th: Hundreds of villagers halt the work of Occupation bulldozers in Arab Ramadin
Wednesday June 8th: Disabled protestors in Bilâin are attacked by Occupation Forces
Thursday June 9th: Villagers from Salfit district rally in the city
Friday 10th: Hundreds of demonstrators in Bilâin and Marda clash with Occupation Forces
The Apartheid Wall â along with its associated racist infrastructure of settler-only roads, military zones and the expansion of settlements â is the Zionist attempt to continue the expulsion project of the1948 Nakba and the 1967 Naksa. The Wall is ghettoizing and imprisoning Palestinian communities, confiscating their land and uprooting their trees and livelihoods. It aims to force another great expulsion of the Palestinian people from their land. But the people in the streets and villages of Palestine insist that they will continue to state their steadfast determination to remain and to end the Occupation.