Protesters broke through the barrier Friday at the weekly demonstration in Al-Khader village.  Internationals, Israelis, and local Palestinians from Al-Khader village gathered in two locations to protest the building of the wall that, once built, will cut through the village, separating Palestinians from 62,000 dunums of land. The additional location constituted a changed strategy from last week’s demonstration, which not only surprised the soldiers, but also allowed the protesters to create a diversion. 

According to Samer Jaber, the demonstration’s organizer, the soldiers were so focused on the protesters at the tunnel road that they did not notice the second group tearing down the wire fence, which had been set up on a hill above them by the Israeli military to prevent demonstrators from reaching the illegally built settler-only road. Prior to the destruction of the fence, demonstrators at the foot of the hill reached the highway where, according to one protester, Annelise Duerden, settlers “slowed down their cars and yelled at us to go home.”

Duerden described the demonstration:  the Israeli police arrived about half way through the protest and immediately went up the hill.  Shortly later, demonstrators started to leave and the police then came down to where we were and pulled aside an Israeli protestor, checked his ID and made an announcement in Hebrew.  After the announcement the protestors pretty much left.  The soldiers had issued a military order that made it illegal for the protesters to gather in the area for a non-violent demonstration.

Although Friday’s success is encouraging, the demonstrators must overcome extreme odds.  They appear at the planned location to carry out a specific strategy with the intent to reach Highway 60, the settler-only road, in order to communicate to highway travelers that there is a serious problem.  Some hold signs and chant, some take photos, some push their way up front and others interact and negotiate with the soldiers.  In all cases peaceful demonstrators must face heavily armed Israeli soldiers and tanks, and armed extremist Jewish settlers, if they make it to the highway.