Land Day reports
Land Day reports
1) Land Day in Beitunia_Perla and Gabriel 2) Land Day in Beit Duqqu_Neal 3) Football tournament in Budrus against the Apartheid Wall_Perla
1) Land Day in Beitunia March 30, 2004 By: Perla and Gabriel Beitunia, Ramallah
For the past ten days bulldozers have been working in Beitunia, a town of 20,000 people four kilometers southwest of Ramallah. The path of the Apartheid Wall will confiscate 17,000 dunums (four dunums equal one acre): 2,000 dunums will be used for the construction of the Wall itself while 15,000 dunums will fall on the other side of the Wall. This stolen land consists of olive grooves, wheat fields and grape vines. The town will be left with 9,000 dunums, which represent the built-up area of the city. Beitunia is being robbed of the entirety of its agricultural land. In the past Beitunia lost about 1,000 dunums to a military outpost, 2,000 dunums to the settlement of Givat Zeev, and another 3,000 dunums to bypass roads - roads that the Palestinians are not allowed to drive on.
Beitunia decided to hold a demonstration today, Palestinian Land Day, at noon to protest against the theft of their land and to stop the on-going Wall construction in the community. About 150 Palestinians joined by 20 international and Israeli activists marched through town to the construction site. The bulldozers were not working but soldiers were present guarding the equipment. The protesters walked up a hill towards the soldiers. After some initial rubber bullet shots and stone throwing, the protesters reached the soldiers guarding the bulldozers. At this time more Israeli military jeeps arrived bringing the total number of soldiers to approximately 25. A peaceful sit-in ensued with demonstrators chanting songs and waving Palestinian flags. After 30 minutes the organizers decided to walk back to the village. An Israeli military jeep began to follow the demonstrators; several Israeli activists stood in front of it, but the jeep continued to drive forward almost pinning down the activists. One Israeli activist was pushed upon the hood of the jeep as it sped down and up the hill. As he got off the jeep, the demonstrators attempted to verbally engage the Israeli soldiers. However, this attempt led to several physical confrontations between the demonstrators and soldiers, who responded with sound bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse the crowd. As the demonstrators retreated, roughly a dozen soldiers charged after them aiming their weapons and firing dozens of rounds. When the protesters dispersed to the next hill on the edge of town, the soldiers fired tear gas canisters from their weapons and continued shooting up the hill.
Six people were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets including one international medical volunteer with the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC) and several were treated for tear gas inhalation.
The residents of Beitunia were out today peacefully defending their land, and they were met by violent escalation on the part of the Israeli military. At no point during the demonstration was the safety of the soldiers or the military equipment threatened. The people of Beitunia were simply protesting for the right to be on the land they rightfully own and cultivate. Ghali, the owner of a clothing store, said that it was "a good demonstration, and that Beitunia will continue its struggle against the Wall."
For photos, please see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/pictures/PHOTOS_30Mar04_19_05_49RamallahISM-Huwaida,AP,Reuters.htm
Today we commemorated Land Day with a peaceful demonstration in the West Bank town of Beit Duqqu. Community members from Beit Duqqu, Qatanna, Beit Surik, Beit Ijza, and Biddu, and students from Hebrew University, joined a group of 25 internationals and Israeli peace activists for a 2 mile march and peaceful demonstration at the hillside worksite of the Apartheid Wall.
The demonstration was watched over by a group of 25 border police, Israeli soldiers and private security guards who stood on the opposite hillside close to the Israeli highway. Demonstrators chanted and burned tires on the flat, rocky road which has been built into the hillside over the past several weeks in preparation for the Wall's construction. There were many banners illustrating the Wall's construction, the Palestinian struggle, and Israeli war crimes.
Several community leaders from the surrouding villages and one woman international made speeches celebrating Land Day and the Palestinian resistance and struggle against Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
After several hours, the demonstration ended peacefully and on the terms of the organizers, and everyone walked back down the hill and back into Beit Duqqu.
For photo, please see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/reports/writings/30Mar04_17_56_17JerusalemNeal.htm
3) Football tournament in Budrus against the Apartheid Wall March 26, 2004 By: Perla
It is Friday morning in Budrus and it is football day. The town of Budrus has invited 22 other villages and internationals to come play soccer for one day to strengthen their ties and show their solidarity. 19 teams have responded to the call, including one team of internationals. A sign reads " United against the wall until it falls". Palestinian flags are being put up around the field, minibuses are arriving one after the other filled with enthusiastic young men ready to play, nets are being set up, music is playing in the background, and the internationals are desperately trying to practice before the tournament starts.
Read the full report at: http://www.palsolidarity.org/reports/writings/26Mar04_08_24_31RamallahPerla.htm
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