The Israeli Separation Wall… one of its main aims is to separate Palestinian people from their land. In Ramallah, the Wall divides the villages into two Ghettos; nine in the first and six in the second.

Currently the Israeli army is working to surround 2500 residents in the first ghetto from all sides, and control them with an iron gate, which times of opening and closing — times that depend very much on the mood of Israeli soldiers on that day.

Budrus is a small village; many have never even heard of it before, but now it heads every news article about the Wall, while hundreds of local and international peace activists come to show solidarity with the people of Budrus and their steadfastness in defending their land. Budrus is located 35km to the west of Ramallah, and only 10km away from the Israeli town of Lud. This village is close to another village called Qibya, which was attacked by a militant group headed by Ariel Sharon back in 1953. Seventy six residents were killed, including children and women. Budrus is one of several small villages west of Ramallah: Na’lin, Bal’in, Al-Midya, Rantis, Shiqba, Dir Qiddees, Kahrbatha Al-Harithiyya, Safa, Beit Seera, and Beit Liqya. There are 13,000 residents living currently in Budrus, the residents of Budrus owned 25,000 Dunams (a Dunam is about 1/4 acre), and after the 1948 war, Israel annexed 20,000 Dunams. In 1967, the Israeli army erected a military camp which was named “Adam”, after the name of an Israeli general who was killed that same year in Lebanon.

The camp is used by the Israeli army for training. 2 Palestinians were killed and 11 injured as the army was “training” in the new camp!

This village, like almost all Palestinian villages, depends on agriculture for its local economy. The Israeli army annexed the lands, and settlements started surrounding the villages taking away the sources of livelihood of the residents.

After losing their only source of livelihood, the residents began searching for work in Israel, doing construction or other manual labor.

During the Intifada, unemployment rates reached 70%, and during the recent period of “calm” some of the workers had to work with Israeli employers under hard conditions and low income.

Separation Wall

Ayed Marar, a recently released detainee, and the coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, stated:

‘The wall was started in order to grab more lands, and reoccupy the Palestinian areas, Israel never published the decisions of its high court, peaceful resistance was not conducted in the same size of the disaster the wall reflects, and that stems from the enormous pressures on the Palestinian people, their destroyed economy, and the “international silence and American support to Israel”

Peace activists are coming from Israel and several countries around the world, but local leaders who led the “resistance against the wall” were not able to communicate with the Palestinians in an efficient way, and encourage them to resist this wall using the available means.

Israel started erecting the Wall in Budrus November, 11, 2003, after it started erecting it in Masha, near Salfit it moved to Budrus unexpectedly and fast.

At that time the Committee was established, initially by initiatives from Fatah and Hamas, and other political factions, heads of youth clubs, school directors and heads of the villages’ councils in the area.

The committee adopted three “slogans”:

First, “big problems require huge efforts”, which means that the committee should not exclude anyone, it needs total unity, it needs to recruit all of the possible means for the popular struggle against the wall, all of the people have factions have one aim; “to resist the occupation”.

Second, “We Can Do It”, this is an agreed principle to challenge the Wall in steadfastness. The first procession against the Wall was carried out in 11.11.2003.

Third, “a third Intifada” against the wall, a popular Intifada to impose new strategies.

The popular committee faced several obstacles since it was established;

1. Local and International media ignored the activities against the wall, nine protests were held between 11.11.2003 and 28.12.2003, media never showed up, even local newspapers did not want to publish our news, and after the committee insisted, local papers started publishing very small briefs, less than 15 words without pictures!

2. The occupation repeatedly acted against the village by imposing curfew, and firing at the protestors; one resident was killed, 300 injured and 28 arrested.

3. The unity of the committees’ work was repeatedly targeted, financial and political pressures were imposed.

4. Lack of financial resources, the activities of the committee needed income to survive and carry on, some of the members even covered some of the expenses using their private income or resources; currently the P.A participates in the expenses.

28/12/2003, this village managed to be heading the news, and overcame all of the obstacles;

What happened in 28/12/2003?

On that particular day, the army imposed curfew over the village, but at least 500 protestors, which composes 33% of its population, women, children and men, challenged the curfew, went to the bulldozed fields, and managed to stop the bulldozers; the price paid was 100 injuries.

Two days later, the army arrested a Swedish parliamentarian who came to Budrus in solidarity with its residents, this was a starting point, which made the world follow the struggle of this small village, internationals started to come, and the media started to “show up” and show interest”.

Among the international organizations actively present, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and International Women Organization for Promoting Peace, and other Israeli peace groups.

The Popular Committee held 50 processions against the wall since 01/07/2004.

The rout of the wall was changed in 01/04/2004, Israel decided to annex 1200 Dunams planed with 3000 Olive trees, and after the path was changed, the lands were regained except 176 Dumans, and later on 120 Dunams were reclaimed as a result of the continuous peaceful resistance.

Ayed Marar said that the committee appealed to the Israeli High Court, and Israel started erecting the Wall on the Green Line “borders with Israel”, after changing its rout.

300 meters of the Wall destroyed

Last month, the Israeli army invaded Budrus and fired rounds of live ammunition, and arrested one youth,

Dozens of residents clashed with the soldiers, and surrounded them, army fled away from the village chased by youth and their stones, the youth followed the army until reaching a section of the wall and destroyed 200 meters, then again additional 100 meters; the army erected military checkpoints and towers later on to guard the Wall.

So far, and since Israel started erecting the Wall in Budrus, 170km were constructed, , only 15km were built since the communities was formed in 11.11.2003.

The committee became a role model in resisting the wall; the villages became “fortresses” in resisting the wall in Na’lin, Bal’in, Dir Qiddees, Beit Sorik, Al-Midya, Khatbatha, Al-Ezariyya, Al-Ram, Dir Ballout, and Iskaka.

In Bal’in the wall will annex 2700 Dunams, and 4000 Dunams in Safa, and in spite that the sections of the wall were shifted, peaceful resistance continues.

If the Wall is completed in that area, 80% of the laborers will lose there sources of livelihood since they work, even not continuously, in Israel and several West Bank area.

800 university students are studying in universities and colleges in the West Bank, even medical care and access to medical faculties will be blocked.

“The area will become an isolated location, residents blocked and surrounded, which forces them to leave their villages, which is the ultimate aim of the occupation”, Ayed said.

“The wall became a symbol of the occupation, everyone wants to resist this wall, and Israeli now needs 10-15 soldiers to protect a small block of the wall, peaceful resistance, and persistency managed to slow it and stop it in some areas, Israel claims that the wall is erected to provide security for Israel, but now they now to provide security for the wall itself”, Ayed said.