The Israeli High Court of Justice issued an interim injunction Tuesday ordering army to halt work on the section of the separation wall near the West Bank villages of Dir Balut, Rafat and Azzawiya.
The injunction will remain in effect until the court rules on the petition filed by a group of villages’ residents.
Azzawiya residents complained, two days ago, that despite the court previous injunction the work continued in their fields, especially where trees were already uprooted.
Azzawiya village council reported that army informed them that the court ruling allows them to continue with the construction where trees were already uprooted.
The petitioners argue that the wall would enclose them in an enclave away from their land.
More than 200 residents of Azzawiya village, joined by 10 international supporters, confronted a phalanx of army jeeps and hummers today, as they tried to reach the land near the village school where the West Bank Separation Wall is being built.
Construction on the Wall resumed, despite last Wednesday’s court ruling halting work on the wall in other areas. Under a separate injunction from the High Court, work in Azzawiya is allowed to continue in areas where olive trees have already been uprooted.
Led by elders of the village, the peaceful marchers sat in front of vehicles and refused to return to the village as they were commanded to do by the troops. Though they gave several warnings to the crowd to move back or be dispersed, the army did not fire tear gas or live ammunition as they have done many times over the last three weeks. Protesters remained on the site, about 50 meters from where the bulldozers were working, for almost two hours.
At one point, one of the soldiers seized a megaphone and said, ‘Listen up for a minute. Your war is not with us. It is with the courts.’ The assembled men shouted at him, ‘No, this is different. The court said you have to stop working here.’
Azzawiya is one of three villages in the Salfit region that will be completely enclosed by the wall. When the wall is completed the villagers will lose 90% of their land. They will not be able to access their olive trees, which are now the main source of income for the area.
The construction in Azzawiya village and the area there is against the agreement between Bush and Sharon which stats that Israel should not start building the wall around the settlement of Ariel.