Symbol of Apartheid under siege as Palestinians in the West Bank protest 40 years of Life under Occupation
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Symbol of Apartheid under siege as Palestinians in the West Bank protest 40 years of Life under Occupation

***image2***Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of Ramallah this week to protest against 40 years of the Occupation in two national demonstrations.

Over 400 people gathered today to demonstrate against the Occupation and the Wall. The lively demonstration drew people from all over the West bank – from the Salfit, Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah districts. Members of the Palestinian political parties and representatives from Palestinian civil society organizations also joined the march, which began at Qalandiya refugee camp and continued to the terminal the Occupation has built just meters away from the end of the refugee camp to bar Palestinians from reaching their capital. The marchers carried banners and posters protesting against the Israeli occupation and its extension to the West Bank, the Gaza strip and the remaining parts of Jerusalem 40 years ago.

Along the route there was continuous chanting of slogans such as ‘The wall must fall’ and ‘No to the Occupation’. The crowd demanded the full range of Palestinian national rights to be restored, Qalandiya being an emblem of the long history of Zionist crimes against our people – starting with the Nakba and the expulsion of almost one million Palestinians from their homes in 1948 and culminating in the ghettoization of the Palestinian people behind walls and terminals almost 60 years later. This continued as the marchers reached the fortified checkpoint at the edge of the camp, where they met a barricade of Occupation forces and armed vehicles. The Occupation forces shut down the terminal and shouted through megaphones at the demonstrators, in an attempt to keep away from the terminal. The protestors refused to leave and a long stand-off ensued during which representative from the political parties and forces gave speeches to the crowd. A member of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign explained: “We want to send a clear message to the world that it is the responsibility of the world to end their support to the Occupation and to help free Palestine by supporting boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli government.”

***image3***After the speeches the youth participating in the demonstration challenged the Occupation’s grip on their land and lives attacking the forces that were protecting the horrific terminal at Qalandiya, the symbol of their ghettoization. The Occupation troops responded by detonating sound bombs amongst the protestors and clashes ensued.

A demonstration against 40 years of the Occupation also took place in central Ramallah on June 5th. Around 500 people, from all the districts of Palestine joined the protest. The march began at the Orthodox Club and progressed to Al Manara Square where Palestinian politicians and NGO representatives gave speeches to the assembled crowd against the Occupation and demanded that the rest of the world assist in freeing Palestine. The crowd then decided to march through Ramallah, reiterating the call for the end of the Occupation and a world-wide boycott of Israel.