Monday, July 7, 2008

The Wall, The Resistance -- Relentless reality

The item below, circulated on various email lists, is a declaration initiated by Ya'akov Manor and Amos Gvirtz, longtime independent Israeli activists against the occupation (for their contact information, see the end of the item). The text, planned as a petition to be published in Hebrew in Haaretz later this week, protests one more stage of Israel's forceful appropriation of Palestinian village land and calls a joint Palestinian-Israeli demonstration at the West Bank village of Ni'alin.

At Ni'alin, "The Wall" or separation barrier ostensibly providing Israelis with greater security is again exposed as a tool for tearing villagers from their land and livelihood, for handing over the land to Israeli (or U.S.) owned building companies, contractors to build up and sell to Israeli settlers.

Ni'alin is adjacent to the village of Bil'in, the subject of an Israeli High Court ruling last year that The Wall illegally robbed villagers of lands, towards profiting private companies rather than enhancing security. The ruling, restoring some of the land to Bil'in, has not been implemented to date and the villagers of Bil'in, along with Israeli partners, continue their ongoing, non-violent protests.

This persistent, resilient struggle, continuing in face of brutal responses from the Israeli army, is now joined by similar protests in Ni'alin, as construction of The Wall grabs the lands of yet more Palestinian farmers.

The Wall's slow but relentless progress is epitomized by the laborious onslaught of bulldozers razing the hills of the old agricultural terracing and systematically uprooting olive groves. Public attention and protest tends to tire of such long, repetitive processes and the following item is a bid to counteract this tendency and support the villagers' stand against it.

In a process declared unequivocally illegal by the International Court of Justice at the Hague in 2004, Israel continues to use The Wall to forcefully drive Palestinians from their land. The violent appropriation of land is met with the determined non-violent resistance of a grassroots Palestinian movement, joined by Israeli groups and activists.

Both construction of The Wall and resistance to it continue to be happening, unfolding and pressing developments.

Rela Mazali


Break the siege, stop the fence in Ni'alin

The village of Ni'alin, which is located in the Ramallah district, has for more than a month now been leading an intense struggle against the de-facto appropriation of 2,500 dunams of land, over a third of all its land, as a result of the building of the "separation fence".

The route of the fence in this area, much like in the famous case of the neighboring village of Bil'in, has been planned in such a way that all lands "left behind" the fence will serve the expansion of the near by illegal settlement of Hashmonaim.

The villagers have declared an uncompromising struggle against the fence; three-four demonstrations are held each week, marching towards the construction site and the settlement, in many cases successfully forcing a halt of construction.

The popular and nonviolent struggle of the demonstrators is met by growing ferocity on the side of the army, which is using live ammunition in addition to the regular tear gas and rubber bullets. On Friday, 4.7, the army decided to use collective punishment against the village – a full siege and curfew for ten days have been declared and enforced.

We demand that violence against demonstrators be stopped, and that the construction of the fence will be stopped in Nia'lin and elsewhere.

We sympathize and support the just struggle of the villagers against the appropriation of their lands.

An especially big demonstration will be held in the village of Ni'alin on Thursday morning, commemorating the anniversary of The Hague ruling which defined the Apartheid Wall illegal.

We call upon everyone to join this demonstration and the following ones as well

The initiators of this call intend to publish it in Ha'aretz newspaper *this Wednesday or Thursday

In order to do so, we need to get some 250 signatories, each donating 100 NIS or more.

The donation can be broken down to two payments. Donations of all sizes will be warmly accepted.

Please confirm your signature with Ya'akov Manor at 050-5733276, 09-7670801, or with Amos Gvitz at 052-6035685, or at:

Checks are to be made out to "Matte Hacoalitsia", PB 1335, Kfar Saba, 44113

*If we do not receive enough signatures before the demonstration date we will have to postpone the publication to a latter date

Jewish Peace News editors:
Joel Beinin
Racheli Gai
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Judith Norman
Lincoln Shlensky
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Alistair Welchman
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