On Friday, the village of Um Salamoneh, near Bethlehem in the southern part of the West Bank, was the scene of a non-violent protest against the construction of the illegal Israeli wall.
Today, villagers from Um Salamoneh and nearby villages were joined by international and Israeli supporters. Together, they conducted the Friday prayers on the farmland where the Israeli authorities want to build the Wall. The protest then moved towards a nearby settler-only road, which protestors blocked for some time. The Israeli army arrived at the scene, and a small scuffle broke out. No injuries were reported. The demonstration then proceeded back to the village, where it ended.
Israeli bulldozers started destroying land belonging to Um Salamoneh on Tuesday. Palestinian farmers and villagers from Um Salamoneh and the surrounding villages protested this action at the site, and were joined by Israeli and International supporters. The Israeli army attacked and injured several villagers, and abducted one local youth, who was released shortly after.
On Wednesday, two Palestinians, five Internationals and six Israelis climbed upon a bulldozer, while it was stationary, and succeeded in preventing it from destroying the farmland. Two international and four Israeli activists were abducted by the Israeli army and taken to Gush Etzion prison. They were released after a few hours, on the condition that they do not return to the site of the non-violent demonstration for 15 days.
The Wall will cause the isolation of several villages south of Bethlehem, especially the villages of Wad Rahhal, Um Salamoneh, Al Ma’sara and Wad Al Niss. Um Salamoneh stands to have 700 dunums of agricultural land annexed and 270 dunums confiscated for the route of the Wall. Ten villages surrounding Bethlehem stand to lose 70,000 grape vines and 1000 olive trees through the construction of the wall, with countless more annexed on the far side.