This week there was an escalation in the harassing of Palestinian houses. Mainly in Isawia (extended Jerusalem) but also in Jafa (extended Tel Aviv). A new village joined the struggle against the separation fence - Wadi Rasha, and Bait Jaala resumed the struggle. Friday we were at the usual Bil'in, Ni'ilin, Um Salmuna demonstrations against the separation fence. Bil'in, 6-3-09, link to video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d08CxaiYIRE
Wadi Rasha (Ras Tira) Invited AAtW delegates for a meeting and following it - on Wednesday, the first action was taken. In Um Salmuna the demonstration this Friday was much bigger than the usual ones as significant contingent of the democratic front (mostly women) joined us.
Quoted from report of Iyad Burnat- Head of Popular Committee in Bil'in:
"Three injured and dozens suffered teargas inhalation during the Bil'in Weekly Demonstration. Friday March, 6th 2009- The residents of Bil’in gathered today after the Friday prayer in another protest called by the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlement Building. The protest was joined by international activists and the Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall and Settlements. Protesters carried Palestinian flags and banners condemning the Israeli policies of building the wall and settlements, especially the recent plan to build 75 new housing units. Protesters also condemned the recent house demolitions in Al-Bustan and Ras Khamis in Jerusalem."
"Lately, the works on the separation fence started on the lands of the village Wadi Ras. The planed route will leave 70% of the olive trees of the village on the other (forbidden side). Many trees are the last few days as part of the works on the route. Today (Wednesday) morning village people and Israeli (AAtW) activists succeeded to stop the bulldozers work for an hour.
Friday we will join them again to block the bulldozers and the destruction".
Another report on the Wednesday action: "At 8:00 this morning, a crowd of 20 Palestinians together with 15 Israeli and International activists gathered in a village called Ras atTira, in the Qalqilya district, to protest against the destruction and annexation of Palestinian land. At the site of the protest, there were three bulldozers destroying the farm land. Some of the Palestinians and activists peacefully protested against this theft of land by sitting in front of the bulldozers attempting to stop the destruction. http://awalls.org/files/images/Wadi-arRasha_0.jpg The protectors were harassed by two armed settlers who grabbed the protectors and threw them around. One of the settlers grabbed camera-related equipment from an Israeli activist and threw that down the hill."
Police ignored the complaints lodged by Israeli activists regarding the security guards who attacked them, and instead detained one of the Israeli activists, who was released shortly after. Through negotiations between the Palestinian landowners and Israeli army and police, an agreement was reached whereupon the older olive trees are to be returned to their owners once uprooted.
The destruction in the area of Wadi arRasha, which began one week ago, will affect five small villages in the immediate area, on their approximately 1,500 inhabitants.
And another on Friday:
"We have had another bit of success today in Wadi Rasha. There was no work today and it appears that the reason was the planned demonstration. In the end there were no guards or soldiers anywhere near the rout of the wall and we spent the time hearing about the confusing rout of the wall in that area.....
The army plans to uproot trees on Sunday and we were asked to come support the farmers who will resist this. Please let me know if you can make it."
"The demonstration this Friday was much bigger than the usual ones as significant contingent of the democratic front (mostly women) joined us. At the beginning we were about 200 people and no army present. It seems the changes in the time of the demonstration last Fridays confused them. We started with a bold march towards the route of the separation fence on the village lands. After few failed trying of soldiers to stop us, a bigger unit arrived and succeeded to block our way so we stopped on the road. The soldiers tried to detain few young people but we succeeded to prevent it, and enabled the ones in danger to retreat to the village.
At one stage the state force stretched a barbed wire spool as a kind of fence.... but, the women of the village and the contingent of the front started to dismantle it. As the state force objected to it and harassed them we responded by sitting down for an additional quarter of an hour for speeches to be carried, before returning to the village.