Resistance in the villages of Bil’in and al-Khader escalates to challenge ghettoization
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Resistance in the villages of Bil’in and al-Khader escalates to challenge ghettoization

***image2***In Bil’in and al-Khader, hundreds of villagers united in mass protests to confront large deployments of Occupation forces and to continue their resistance against the Apartheid Wall and the continued Zionist aggression. In Bil’in the Occupation forces had to face powerful determination from villagers who undertook to defend their land and village.

Bil’in village has been the scene routine protests every Friday that start from the mosque and march to village lands behind the Wall. Like always, Palestinians were determined to make their way through the gate that cuts them off from their lands and encloses them in a ghetto. As they arrived, the Occupation forces used sticks and gunbacks against the demonstrators to disperse them. Violent clashes between the soldiers and the demonstrators broke out as the protestors tried to push through the gate. In response to the brutality of the Israeli soldiers, the demonstrators pelted the soldiers with stones causing a light head injury to one officer. Following escalation of violence, the army unleashed huge amounts of tear gas and sound bombs into the crowd. Rubber bullets and live bullets were shot at the demonstrators. Many people were choking from the intensive gas. The people participating in the demonstration were randomly beaten, including a bride that was supposed to hold her wedding as part of the protest. The soldiers also beat 5 journalists, destroyed their cameras, and fired at ambulances. As the protestors retreated the Occupation forces followed them into the village, attempting to attack it and make ransom arrests. Nevertheless, the youth defended their village by putting nails in the path of a military jeep. Its wheels were destroyed and the soldiers were stuck until another support unit came, at which point the protestors had dispersed.

***image4***In al-Khader, hundreds of people marched from the village mosque to the north-western entrance of the village. The road has been blocked by the Israeli army with rocks and rubble for the past six years. The Occupation forces are presently working to build a tunnel in this area to connect Bethlehem and the western villages. The tunnel is part of the Apartheid Wall that extends from the north-western to the south-western part of the village and will confiscate around 90 % of the villagers’ lands. It will further isolate 22 300 people living in the villages of West Bethlehem into a dreadful ghetto.

A large number of soldiers were stationed in the construction area to prevent the villagers from accessing the road and leaving the village. The protestors gathered in front of the military and continued their protest in defiance of the orders of the army to leave what they had declared a “military closed zone.” The speeches called for national unity in times of intensive Zionist attacks and urged the international community to pressure the Occupation forces to abide by international law and to tear down the wall that imprisons Palestinian cities and villages.