Preliminary Work On The Wall At Azzawiya
April 8th, 2004
Time: 9:30 am
Work has started on the Apartheid Wall in Azzawiya. There are currently 4 contractors' vehicles, an army jeep, soldiers and engineers on Highway No. 5 at the bridge over the road between the villages of Mas'ha and Azzawiya. They are putting marks in preparation for the wall to be constructed on lands confiscated from Azzawiya.
They are expected to then go to the village of Deir Ballut.
The villagers in Azzawiya held a peaceful demonstration against the wall last Friday April 2nd 2004 that brought out around a thousand Palestinians who marched towards the entrance of the village to be met by army jeeps and armed soldiers. Two busloads of Israeli supporters from Ta'ayush were turned back at the checkpoint on Highway No 5, on the Green Line, after being shown a closed military order. The military entered the buses and forced them to an area where there were so many military that they had no chance just to walk through. This was done so that the Palestinians would receive no Israeli support in their confrontation with the army. The wall will leave the village of Azzawiya with only 775 dunums. The village used to have 24,000 dunums where they grew olive trees, almond trees, and carried out intensive cultivation of vegetables in greenhouses.
They have already lost land to road expropriations for settler highway no. 5, for settlement building, for military facilities and training grounds.
The villagers will lose 90% of their land as well as millions of shekels per year in income. They will be imprisoned in their village. Azzawiya is one of 3 neighbouring villages that will be in the same closed off enclave - the other two are Rafat and Deir Ballut. This was the first march to be organised in Azzawiya and each village will take it in turn to organise protests. The villagers of all three villages have vowed to work together in co-operation to try to stop the building of the wall. They can see the terrible difficulties being faced by Mas'ha nearby that has had the wall built and is now facing daily problems with lack of access through a very few Israeli-controlled wall gates.
The Azzawiya demonstration was completely peaceful with lines of men and youths arm in arm progressing to the road that led to the proposed wall site at the entrance to the village. They were met with soldiers in their jeeps, with their guns. The men and youths roared out their inspiring resistance chants and made some good speeches. One woman also made a speech. As the tension rose, the Israeli army started getting edgy and told everyone to leave the area but the Palestinians just sat down, thus reducing the tension but still maintaining their presence. After an hour or so of marching and demonstrating the protest ended and they all marched back to the centre of the village.