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Hundreds March Against the Wall At MasHa

Hundreds March Against the Wall;
Update on Detained Activist

Palestinians, Internationals and Israelis and people of Deir Balut, Az Awiya, Qiri and Rafat, together with the International Solidarity Movement and The International Women's Peace Service joined the Palestine Freedom March in the Salfit region today. They march from Mas'Ha to the land around Az Awiya that has been lost to the construction of the Apartheid Wall.

Over a month ago the Israeli Army began uprooting trees and bulldozing the land to prepare for the construction of the Wall. The resistance from the village and surrounding areas managed to result in a stop work order. Resistance to the construction of the Wall continues.

Today it is estimated that close to 1000 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals participated in the march. The Israeli army and border police attempted to stop the march by pushing them back physically. They also attempted to arrest several marchers but were unsuccessful. The number of chanting and singing protesters was too much for the Israeli Army and border police to stop and the demonstrators managed to hold their ground. After making several statements condemning the Wall and the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces, the Freedom March returned to Az Awiya.

Update on Detained Activist From New York:

Yesterday, a peace activist from New York was detained and taken to Ariel Police Station after participating in a non-violent demonstration with the Freedom March. Today he was released on the condition that he not go near the Wall or participate in demonstrations for the next five days. According to Karl, he was beaten upon his arrest and he was told he should be deported "for holding a megaphone." Karl will leave Ariel Police Station today.

The Freedom March has witnessed and experienced the impact of the Wall and Israeli Army restrictions on towns, villages and farm land. Their route has been obstructed and delayed due to the construction of the Apartheid Wall within the West Bank and military checkpoints. Today a report was published by an Israeli human rights organization that confirms the impact of the Israeli restrictions on travel and access.

A report prepared by the Israeli Human Rights Group Betselem and published Monday concluded that Israeli restrictions made it almost impossible for Palestinian to use regular West bank roads.

According to the group's research findings, Palestinians are totally banned from traveling on certain roads, partially banned from using others, and traveled for long hours when using the rest.

Palestinians are forced to use unpaved country roads to travel from one place to another in the West bank. The report accused Israel with applying an apartheid policy, similar to the one used by former Apartheid government of South Africa.

Betselem's report points to the strong relation between settlements and both the construction of roads and the restrictions imposed on Palestinians. "One can rarely find a road in the West Bank that is not tightly linked to settlers' needs," the report stated.

The report notes that while almost all the land used to construct roads was expropriated from Palestinian residents, most of it was not expropriated for security or military purposes, but constructed to benefit West Bank settlers.

Palestinians, internationals and Israelis are marching along the path of the Apartheid Wall, beginning in the Jenin area, through cities, towns and villages impacted by the Wall and will travel all the way to Jerusalem. The March began July 30 and will arrive in Jerusalem August 19.

The Freedom March is taking place to highlight the problem the Wall is creating for Palestinian communities. Thousands of Palestinians have been impacted by the construction of the Wall recently ruled as illegal by the International Court in The Hague. The construction of the Wall has resulted in the confiscation of Palestinian land and water sources. Thousands of men, women and children have been separated from their families, place of work and schools and farmers have been unable to reach their farms.

The marchers plan to cover 10-12 kilometers per day (6.2 – 7.5 miles per day). Occasionally some of the march along the Wall will be covered by car or bus.

For further information contact:

Pat: 972-66-253-451 Tayseer: 972-54-651-8549 or 972-59-314-910 Gabe: 972-55-725-958 or 972-59-826-952 Ism Media Office: 972-2-277-4602 or 0547-358-579

For photos of the Freedom March see : www.palsolidarity.org


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