Weekly Anti-Wall Protest Update – March 18
Posted inNews /

Weekly Anti-Wall Protest Update – March 18

Bethlehem: Planting olive and almond trees on threatened land

A group of youth volunteers from the city of Bethlehem, joined by Palestinian youth from the ’48, carried out a tree planting in the Bethlehem district.

Nearly 150 volunteers began work at eight in the morning, and by four in the afternoon had planted 200 olive and almond trees. The trees were planted in an area of land between the village of al Walaja and the settlement of Har Gilo that Occupation forces have threatened to confiscate.

This action came as part of a series of actions organized by Stop the Wall in commemoration of Land Day, with is marked yearly on the 30th of March.

Occupation forces arrived at the area and attempted to stop the volunteer work. However, youth insisted on their right to work their land, and soldiers later left the area.

Beit Ijza: Residents stage sit-in at the Apartheid Wall, demanding access to their isolated land

Dozens of residents of Beit Ijza (northwest Jerusalem) staged a sit-in on Friday in front of the gate in the Apartheid Wall, demanding that the gate be opened. Village land is isolated behind the Wall, and farmers have been unable to access their lands for three months.

Residents, joined by Palestinians from the surrounding villages, held Friday prayers near the gate before beginning the sit-in, which lasted some three hours. Villagers stated that Occupation forces had prohibited them from entering their land to prune their olive trees. They have continued to enforce this closure, prohibiting villagers from plowing the isolate areas as well, in a clear policy aimed at separating Palestinians from their land.

The sit-in was called for by Stop the Wall, the National Campaign, the farmers and the local council of the northwest Jerusalem villages, with the goal of continuing every Friday.

Ni’lin: Dozens of asphyxiation cases at weekly protest

Hundreds of Ni’lin residents joined Friday prayers under the olive trees near the Apartheid Wall. The weekly sermon called on Palestinians to stand beside the revolutionaries in Libya and stressed the importance of their victory, calling on them to continue their resistance and stating, “you are the grandchildren of Sheikh ‘Omar al Mukhtar [a leader in the Libyan resistance to Italian colonization in the early 20th century] who said that we will never surrender, we will be victorious or die. You must follow in his footsteps and stay the course until you are able to expel Qaddafi.”

The weekly sermon also emphasized the importance of ending the division and reaching a reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian factions, which will allow Palestinians to return to the heart of the matter, namely that of ending the occupation and liberating the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

With the end of Friday prayers, villagers and solidarity activists headed towards the gate in the Apartheid Wall. Demonstrators shouted for national unity and repeated the slogan, “the people want to end the division!” Upon reaching the Wall, demonstrators faced a hail of tear gas and sound bombs. Occupation forces followed demonstrators to an area near the village where clashes continued between protestors and soldiers, who fired rubber bullets and more tear gas, leading to a number of cases of asphyxiation among protestors.

Al Ma’sara: Occupation forces arrest two international activists, fire tear gas at weekly march

On Friday, Occupation forces arrested two international activists and fired tear gas at marchers in al Ma’sara, leading to a number of cases of asphyxiation.

The weekly protest was held in support of the youth movement demanding an end to the division and elections for the Palestinian National Council, as well as in memory Ahmed Sa’dat, the Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, on the fifth anniversary of his arrest.

The people of al Ma’sara were joined by international activists, and together they raised Palestinian flags and a sign calling for an end to the division. Calling for everyone to unite under the Palestinian flag, demonstrators made their way through the village, chanting slogans for national unity.

Reaching the entrance of the village, protestors encountered a large number of Occupation forces who barred them from reaching their land, which is threatened with confiscation. When demonstrators tried to pass, soldiers used tear gas and sound bombs to break up the protest. They pursued demonstrators toward the village, arresting two international activists.

Bil’in: Five injured during weekly demonstration

Five Palestinains were injured today and dozens suffered from severe asphyxia as a result of inhaling the tear gas due to the clashes that took place in the village of Bil’in.

Residents of Bil’in were joined by international supporters and members of Palestinian political factions. Youth campaigning to end the Palestinian political division, among them some of the hunger strikers from Manara Square, also joined the weekly protest.

Abdallah Abu Rahmah, who was recently released after spending 16 months in Occupation prisons, also marched, stating, “the restrictions imposed on us by the Occupation will not deter us from continuing on our path. In spite of all the arrests the sons of our homeland will continue to work in earnest and for national unity and to end the division.”

The Participants in the march were carrying Palestinian flags and pictures of martyrs and long time prisoner Marwan Barghouti, in addition to banners calling for an end to the division and the occupation.

The demonstrators marched from the village chanting national slogans, calling for unity and rejection of differences, confirming the need for resounding Palestinian resistance to the occupation, the release of all prisoners, and freedom for Palestine, and an end to the division and the Occupation.

The march headed towards the Wall, where lines of Occupation forces attempted to prevent demonstrators from entering their isolated land. A large number of soldiers were deployed on the route of the wall, and a large vehicle was spraying protesters with sewage water mixed with chemicals. When protesters try to cross towards to the soldiers, the army fired sound bombs and rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas. The protesters were sprayed with sewage water from all directions, and this attack forced the protesters into the olive groves.

By the time the protest had finished, five were wounded. Iyad Burnat (37), a popular resistance activst, was hit by a gas bomb in the head. Tariq (27) was hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet, and Murad Harfoush (27) and Shawkat (19) both suffered injured hands.

Al Nabi Saleh: Occupation forces occupy homes, declare village closed military zone

Dozens of demonstrators and residents suffered from tear gas inhalation as Occupation repressed the weekly demonstration in al Nabi Saleh, which was held in support of the youth movement demanding an end to the division and the Occupation.

Protestors began the weekly march from the center of the village after Friday prayers and attempted to reach the lands confiscated by Occupation soldiers and settlers. However, a large force of soldiers had been stationed at the entrance of the village, preventing demonstrors from leaving and raining tear gas and sound bombs on them. Soldiers also took up positions on the roofs of homes, targeting demonstrators from above, and clashes continued for hours.

Declaring al Nabi Saleh a closed military zone, Occupation forces barred press, ambulances and solidarity activists from entering, while at the same time allowing settlers to access the spring that has been stolen from al Nabi Saleh. Journalists and photographers who did manage to enter were threatened and insulted by soldiers as they tried to cover the demonstration.