Media reports in Israel and the US over the weekend applauded the removal of a section of Wall near Bethlehem, but failed to mention that just meters away, another section of Wall is under construction to surround and isolate the Palestinian village of Al-Walaja.The section of Wall being removed on Sunday and Monday was a predecessor to the 700 km Wall currently being constructed throughout the West Bank to surround and separate Palestinian communities in the West Bank. The Gilo barrier was built nine years ago, on land seized from the Palestinian town of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem.

The settlement of Gilo was constructed on Palestinian land seized by the Israeli government in 1967, and has expanded since that time, especially during the ‘Oslo period’ between 1993 and 2000, when the second Palestinian uprising began.

Palestinians living in the area say the removal of the section of barrier is just a formality, when the actual Annexation Wall is being constructed directly southwest of the structure being removed. The section of Annexation Wall currently under construction near Gilo is being built on land seized from the village of Al-Walaja, where weekly demonstrations have been held each Friday for nearly a year.

These non-violent demonstrations try to call attention to the theft of land and destruction of homes that is currently taking place in Al-Walaja due to the Wall’s construction.