Bethlehem district: al Ma’sara and al Walaja defend their lands and homes
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Bethlehem district: al Ma’sara and al Walaja defend their lands and homes

1) Al Ma’sara: A tribute to international solidarity

On Friday, the weekly march in the village of al Ma’sara was dedicated to the remembrance of the American martyr Rachel Corrie, who was murdered in Gaza seven years ago, when an Occupation bulldozer ran over her body. Corrie and her colleagues from the International Solidarity Movement were trying to defend homes from being destroyed and trees from being uprooted by the bulldozers.

The people of al Ma’sara set out on their march carrying pictures of Rachel and chanted slogans, such as “Rachel you are in our hearts” and “We will not forget you, Rachel.”

International solidarity activists from the Holy Land Trust joined the people from al Ma’sara in their march, which set out from the village school towards the area of the wall before arriving at the section of the wall.

Muhammad Brijiyeh, co-coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and the Settlements in al Ma’sara, delivered a speech in which he remembered Rachel, who came from overseas in order to defend the right of the Palestinian people. Brijiyeh underlined that people like Rachel are the messenger of the people of Palestine to the people of America, in order to bring the truth about what is happening in Palestine to their people.

Jum’ah Zawahreh, a member of the Popular Committee in al Ma’sara, also gave a speech in which he highlighted the importance of the role played by internationals in the Palestinian struggle. Marwan Fararjah further spoke about the international dimension of the Palestinian cause.

As usual, Occupation forces awaited the demonstrators, who arrived in their dozens, at the entrance to the village. The demonstrators attempted to remove the barbed wire in order to reach the cut-off land behind the wall.

The demonstrators continued in their attempts, but Israeli Occupation forces prevented them from reaching the land. As a result, the demonstrators sat on the ground chanting slogans. The Occupation Forces suppressed the rest of the march and prevented its participants from entering the isolated land beyond the wall.

2) Al-Walaja: Israeli Occupation Forces hand out demolition orders for two homes.

***image2***On Thursday, Israeli military handed out home demolition orders in Walaja, north-west of Bethlehem. The house owners, Alaa Abdel-Ghani Siam, and Mohammed Abdel-Ghani Siam, found the military orders, written in Hebrew, hanging on the entrance doors of their homes. The orders justified the demolition with the fact that the homes are located too close to the path along which the Apartheid Wall will be built.

The demolition order for one of the homes included a warning that it would be demolished within 72 hours from the issuing of the order. Therefore, already in the early morning hours of Friday, volunteers from the Stop the Wall Campaign, the YMCA and other international volunteers gathered with the owners of the houses under demolition order to show their solidarity and support with the owners of the houses.

Eight people are living in each of the homes. The demolition orders, once executed, would render 16 people homeless.

The Stop the Wall Campaign’s media spokesman in the district, Awad Abu Sway, commented that: “This new step by the occupation forces is part of an all out attack on the land, the trees and the humans beings.” He pointed out that only a response based on more cohesion and unity will be able to successfully challenge the arrogance and aggression of the occupation. He stressed the importance of mobilizing more popular actors to expose the crimes of the occupation.