Today in al-Ma’sara, near Bethlehem, the weekly non-violent demonstration started at the village mosque and marched towards the land where Israel is building their separation wall. This wall is built on land owned by the villagers and annexes further territory.The protests have taken place for 3 years and the villagers are joined, in support, by anti-Zionist Israelis and internationals.

The Israeli military had blockaded the road with a barbwire barricade and as the protesters peacefully tried to pass the soldiers forced them back, using their rifle butts and batons. No injuries were reported.

In addition to the blockade, the Israeli military occupied the rooftops of houses along the protest route. This recent escalation in tactics has come in the New Year, following a warning issued to the leaders of the Popular Committee against the Wall & Settlement Construction, that protests would not be tolerated in 2010.

After the protest ended peacefully, the Israeli military entered the village and kidnapped Saeed Ibrejiah from the local the Popular Committee against the Wall & Settlement Construction.

Palestinian minister for agriculture, Ismael Du’eik, joined the demonstration today, to show his support for the village and stand in solidarity.