An anti-Wall demonstration of at least two hundred of the residents of the al Ma’sarah village near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem and dozens of International peace activists on Friday.
Demonstrators marched from a high school in the village of Al Ma’sarah towards the construction site of the Separation Wall on the village’s farmlands. Work began a year and a half ago no the village’s lands, aimed at confiscating and isolating ten of thousands of dunums of Al Ma’sarah’s land, located south-west of Bethlehem.
This week’s demonstration was to celebrate May Day (International Workers Day), and was attended by Dr Mustafa al Barghuthi, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, and Khalid al A’za , head of the Popular Committee of Land Defense and Settlement in the Bethlehem district. In addition, there were also a number of representatives of different organizations present.
In a speech delivered during today’s protest , Dr al Barghuthi denounced the Israeli procedures in an attempt to prevent the Palestinians from conducting any peaceful demonstration, affirming that ‘such procedures will not intimidate us [Palestinians] and that the Palestinians are stronger, and the ones that deserve to live freely and in dignity on the land of their fathers and ancestors .’
Dr. al Barghuthi added that, ‘the Wall’s destiny is to fall, as well as occupation is to end ‘. He called for ending the internal disagreements among Palestinian factions and to hold on to unity, which he described as ‘ an effective weapon to face the conspiracies on our cause.’
Al Barghuthi went on saying that recent political manoeuvers are aiming to separate the West Bank from the Gaza Strip and to destroy the idea of a Palestinian contiguous state, while turning Palestine into ghettoes and enclaves. He added that ‘ we were not in need of five months of negotiations so that the Palestinians will find out what Israel is planning is an apartheid state and a tiny Palestinian state without East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and the settlements.’
He noted that ‘a real State of Palestine should have a full sovereignty over its land, water, and borders, through ending the occupation and dismantling settlements from all of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including east Jerusalem, and dismantling the Separation Wall.’
As the protestors were about reach the construction site of the Wall, the Israeli army installed military roadblocks and prevented them from proceeding any further.
Mohammad Brejieh, the media spokesperson of the Popular Committee, said that two Palestinians were injured. He added that the Israeli army took many tight procedures to prevent the International peace activists from reaching the village by installing many roadblocks and closed the roads that lead to the village. The soldiers had confiscated a bus with more than sixty international peace activists for more than three hours to prevent them from participating in the protest.