Monday, July 14, 2008

South Bethlehem villages protest building of apartheid wall on their land

For more than a year the villages of Al-Ma'sara and Umm Sulummuna near occupied Bethlehem in the southern West Bank have carried out demonstrations against the building of the apartheid wall on their land. They have been joined by Israelis anti-occupation activists, including members of the Israeli Anarchists against the Wall, as well as international activists from the International Solidarity Movement, the Palestine Solidarity Project and the International Women's Peace Team.

In the past month, the Israeli military have attacked and beaten unarmed Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators, who have attempted peacefully to access the land belonging to the villagers of Al Ma'sara and Umm Sulummuna. On June 28, an Israeli anti-occupation activist was beaten badly by Israeli occupation forces after Palestinians, Israelis and internationals attempted to reach the villages land.

The Jewish anti-occupation activist, who had been standing peacefully, was suddenly grabbed around the neck and thrown violently to the ground by soldiers and hit with a rifle butt. Other Israeli and international activists attempted to prevent the military beating him further by lying on top of him in order to deflect the blows from the soldiers. The Israel occupation forces, however, were able to drag him away from those attempting to protect him, throwing him violently into an army jeep. The Israeli anti-occupation activist was detained for more than an hour and threatened with arrest.

However, he was eventually released when other activists informed the commander of the Israeli military forces at the demonstration that they had clear footage, from three different angles, that the detained activist had been non-violent, had not attacked anyone and that the attack on him by soldiers was unprovoked. Upon his release, the Israeli activist was taken to hospital by other activists, where it was was confirmed that he had a badly bruised rib.

On July 4, at the weekly demonstration by the villagers against the wall, the Israeli military once again attacked the unarmed demonstrators, this time arresting two members of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, as well as international and Israeli activists. According to members of the Palestine Solidarity Project ( who were present at the demonstration, the military attacked the demonstration when villagers attempted to scale piles of tiles in order to get to their land. PSP reported that the Israeli military attacked the peaceful demonstration with sound grenades and badly beat a number of demonstrators before arresting the two Palestinian villagers and other Israeli and international activist. However, while the international and Israeli activists were later released, the two Palestinian activists have not.

Demonstration against Apartheid Wall - Al Ma'sara/Umm Sulummuna 27 June 2008

Demonstration against Apartheid Wall - Al Ma'sara/Umm Sulummuna 11 July 2008

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