International action groups joined local villagers at Al-Ma’sara on Friday in a non-violent protest against the building of the wall ont he village’s land. Close to a hundred of the Palestinian, Italian, French, Israeli and American peaceful protesters, were kept from crossing the road by a fence of barbed wire Israeli soldiers had strung across the road to prevent passing.Action at that area against the wall began in early 2007 in support of the non-violent actions in Al Khader and other villages affected by the continuous wall construction. About two dozen heavily armed Israeli soldiers stood by passively as Mahmoud Zwahre, the coordinator of the popular Community in the southern Bethlehem Al-Masara Village addressed the activists and then spoke to the soldiers. He implored them to speak to him and tell him and the other activists why they come. He asked them why they put the wire and were stopping a women from going to her home.

“Don’t be afraid, come to us,” he said, “We want to talk, tell us why you are doing this. You are armed, we peaceful people. You are like the Nazis in World War Two.”

He said Palestinians will never stop protesting, “we want our freedom.” Later he encouraged the activists and said the actions will continue and that he is glad the Internationals are there to tell their people about the struggle.

The Israel soldiers appeared confused and frightened by the non-violence, a strategy they did not appear prepared to handle.