After almost daily protests took place in al-Walaja until Wednesday of this week and the occupation forces had ceased to work on the Wall, the Popular Committee against the Wall and the Settlements in the village called for a protest on the occasion of Workersâ Day. Workers’ Day has been a day of mobilization in Palestine for generations; a day of protests that the Israeli occupation would regularly ban or repress.
Some 150 people, including international supporters and the advisor for cooperation and cultural affairs of the French Consulate in Jerusalem, joined the protest. Starting from the an-Nour mosque the people marched to the northern entrance of the village. A month ago, the bulldozers of the occupation forces began work on the Apartheid Wall in this area. The bulldozers had stopped work yesterday and therefore the occupation forces kept themselves far from the protestors and watched the gathering without attacks.
People from the popular committee stressed the importance of strengthening the steadfastness of the citizens on their territory in the face of settlement expansion, accelerated expropriation of land and displacement of the owners of the land. Once the Wall is completed, the village with its 3000 inhabitants and other surrounding villages north-west of Bethlehem will be completely isolated from the town.
The speakers called on workers all over the world to stand up in a spirit of international solidarity and to ensure their governments compel Israel to stop building the Apartheid Wall âa construction which undermines all prospects for peace in the entire region. They further stressed the need to broaden the basis for action against the settlements and the Wall to include as many areas as possible in active popular resistance and ensure that they convey a strong and clear message to the international community that they will not abandon or give up their land.
A delegation from al Maâsara expressed their solidarity with the people from al Walaja. A speaker from al Maâsara remembered that exactly one year ago five protestors from al Ma’sara were arrested during a demonstration against the Apartheid Wall. They had been arrested in order to repress the popular struggle. He continued that, instead, today people gather here and in other places in the Bethlehem district, out in the fields to defend their lands and that the popular resistance is growing stronger and more powerful every week.
In al Maâsara and other villages the weekly protests continued.