Mass Demonstrations in Palestine
Weekend of Rage against Apartheid Wall
from: www.stopthewall.org: Latest News, PENGON/Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, February 22nd, 2004
Villagers from Beit Sourik and neighboring towns rally against the Apartheid Wall. As the Wall continues unhindered throughout the West Bank, and Gaza, Palestinians persist in their resistance to the Wall and the destruction and confiscation of their lands due to the building of the Apartheid Wall, which began in June 2002. As part of a continued national unified campaign against the Wall which has seen regular demonstrations, this weekend is seeing intensified mobilization by the Palestinian people and affected communities seeking to give a clear message here in Palestine and internationally that the Apartheid Wall is sealing the fate of the Palestinian people and must be torn down.
The weekend of mobilization is seeing national unity and involving all parties, and will include demonstrations and activities in all of the districts of the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Demonstrations for the weekend began Friday, February 20 in the western Ramallah/northern Jerusalem village of Beit Sourik, where more than four thousand people participated in a demonstration which started after Friday prayers. The entire village, as well as people from neighboring villages of Qatana, Beit Inan, Biddu, and other localities all gathered in Beit Sourik to protest against the looming destruction of their lands by the Apartheid Wall. Many of the villages north west of Jerusalem have received confiscation orders that expropriate thousands of dunums of lands, and the villagers have decided that they are going to fight from the outset. On Saturday, a demonstration was organized in coordination with the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, the Committee Against the Wall in Salfit and different national forces in the district. The demonstration began at 11:00am, with participants heading towards the home of Hani Amer, which is completely isolated behind the Apartheid Wall. Initially, Occupation forces would not allow demonstrators to approach Hani Amer's home which led to some minor clashes until organizers decided to pull back, and concentrate as close as possible to the home. The demonstrators then sat holding placards and posters calling for the demolition of the Wall and chanting slogans demanding an end to the Occupation and the Apartheid Wall.
Monday, February 23, is expected to see the most wide scale mobilization against the Wall of the past days and perhaps since the construction of the Wall began. Major demonstrations will take place in all districts in the West Bank and Gaza, with actions in areas directly affected by the wall as well as major city centres. In Tulkarem the demonstrations will be in Baqa Asharqiya, which along with neighboring villages is completely surrounded by two sections of the Wall. In Jenin demonstrators will gather in Mughayer and then march to Mutilla village where the Wall is currently under construction. In Ramallah demonstrations will be held in the centre of the city. In Qalqiliya demonstrations will start in the center of the city and then head west towards the Wall. In Jerusalem demonstrations will take place in Abu Dis where the Wall is quickly nearing completion. And finally, in Bethlehem a demonstration will take place in the city centre. All demonstrations are scheduled to begin at 12:00 pm tomorrow.
As the International Court of Justice in The Hague hears Oral Arguments beginning February 23, there is greater international attention on the Wall, which is currently nearing one-third complete, being built at an alarming rate. The message from Palestine on this weekend and during the Oral Arguments at the ICJ is clear: communities have been struggling since before the attention of the Court and will continue to organize and demand the Wall be torn down, but in great hopes that, not again, will the international system fail them in their pursuit of justice.
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