Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Israel-Palestine, Jerusalem-Bil'in, Media, Palestinian children protest against the fence 15 Jun

Demonstration held in front of Supreme Court in Jerusalem to protest land expropriation in framework of security fence construction work. Dozens of Palestinian children were brought Tuesday to stage a protest against the West Bank security fence in front of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. They were accompanied by few adults from the village and 30 Israelis from Gush Shalom [Peace Block] and Anarchists Against The Wall. Demonstrators held signs with the slogans in Hebrew, Arabic, and English: "Enough with the fence", "Enough with the robbery of the lands of Bil'in", "Supreme court of Justice protect war crimes".

The protest came after the IDF prohibited the adult residents of the Palestinian village Bil'in to enter Israel for a demonstration.

The court is set to decide on the residents' petition against the building of the separation fence between Palestinian territories and Israel over their land.

"These children are the first ones to be directly hurt by this fence", said Akram Khatib, one of the adults that were allowed to accompany the kids. "We were hoping the children will awaken the compassion of the Israeli judicial system, but I am afraid the decision has already been made."

An argument later ensued between police and Israeli and international activists that accompanied the young protesters when the kids waved Palestinian flags. One international activist was arrested.

‘They're taking our land to build settlements'

In their petition, Bil'in residents claimed that if the separation fence is built they would lose over half of their land. The residents depend on the crops that they grow on this land, they said, and the loss will undermine their livelihood and honor. It therefore violates their personal liberties and their freedom to work, they claimed.

According to Khatib, the fence creates an additional problem.

"They are not taking our land just to build the fence. They are building settlements behind it. They are building five or six-floor buildings to use for settlements."

Bil'in, like other villages in the area, has been characterized lately by repeated clashes between protesters and security forces. The residents said they want to draw attention to their suffering and recruit as many Israeli and international peace activists as possible.

Over the weekend the children demonstrators in Bil'in used a new weapon to protest against the fence. They threw balloons full of chicken excrement in the direction of security forces.

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