Nearly a hundred Palestinians, Israelis, and international peace activists protested the impending construction of the Separation Wall in Al Khader, west of the city of Bethlehem, Friday in what has become a weekly nonviolent demonstration against the confiscation of Palestinian land for the construction of the Israeli annexation wall on village land.
Demonstrators chanted and waved Palestinian flags in front of a bypass road that connects illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank to Jerusalem. Soldiers from the Israel police, the Israeli border guards, and Israeli army, along with half a dozen armored jeeps, blocked the protesters from taking their demonstration onto the road.
This is the second time since the weekly demonstration began that the protesters reached the settler road, slowing traffic.
Close to 30 Israeli and international peace activists joined the protest this week.
No injuries were reported.
The villagers and peace activists began their protest 7 weeks ago against the confiscation of more than 25,000 dunums of prime agricultural land that will be used to build the wall. Demolition orders were already handed out to 3 families and 30 street vendors two months ago.
Samer Jaber, 33, a resident of Al Khader and one of the head organizers of the demonstrations, said that villagers started planning the campaign in the village five months earlier with meetings between local villagers, farmers, and NGOs.
“This campaign was started to protect Al Khader from the wall and to empower villagers, farmers and ordinary people to protect their land,” Jaber said.
Jaber said villagers found out that the wall was being built in Al Khader when they saw the beginning of the construction taking place near the bypass road.
“Besides causing environmental disaster, this wall will separate 25, 000 dunums of land from the farmers. In general, it will confiscate 62,000 dunums which will be annexed to the settlement of Gush Etzion, making it very difficult for Palestinians to access their land,” Jaber added.
Jaber said the wall will also increase unemployment and poverty for farmers who can no longer reach their lands and it will disconnect families who live on opposite sides of the wall.
Mohammad, 13, comes every week to demonstrate.
“There is a wall being built in Al-Khader that is taking the land that belongs to us. There is a demonstration today against the wall. It’s not allowed to be built here,” he said.
Jaber added that the main goal of the demonstrations is to give a message to the world to apply international standards of justice in this area.