Palestine Freedom Walk - July 30-August 19, 2004
Summary of Freedom March Highlights with Photos
August 11, 2004
PALESTINE FREEDOM WALK
July 30-August 19, 2004
Palestinians, internationals and Israelis are marching along the path of the Apartheid Wall, beginning in the Jenin area, through cities, towns and villages affected by the Wall all the way to Jerusalem. The march began Friday, July 30 from the village of Zububa in the Jenin District and is traveling along the path of the Wall where they plan to reach Jerusalem, August 19.
On Friday the marchers travelled from Zubaba to Anin. They covered about ten kilometers. Saturday began in Anin and walked about 9.5km from to Tura Ash Sharqiya. On Sunday the march began in Tur Ash Sharqiya and travelled 13km to Qaffin.
The march is being organized with villages along the route from Jenin to Jerusalem in order to highlight the serious problems 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. .
Day 1: March Begins
[ISM Media Office]Today, Friday, July 30th, the March for Freedom began in Zububa, in the heartland of the northern West Bank. The march will continue for 21 days from village to village, along the route of the Apartheid Wall and ending in Jerusalem.
The much anticipated march began at 9:30 am and traveled on foot to Taiba where they spent two hours before continuing on to Anin. The marchers arrived in Taiba at approximately 11:30am. Although the Israeli army was present, they did not interfere with the march. Only when entering Taiba there was a short-lived encounter with Israeli border police near the school which is close to the Israeli fence. Palestinian youth spontaneously began to shake the fence and hang Palestinian flags. The Israeli border police responded by throwing sound bombs but the situation did not escalate.
Participants in the march include the Committee to Resist the Wall, The National and Islamic Forces, the Union of Palestine Medical Relief Committees, and popular committees and village councils of the 89 villages, towns and cities through which the march will pass. The International Solidarity Movement, the IWPS and Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall are participating in the march and joined the march in Zububa. Additional groups and organizations will join the march at different points along the route. Gush Shalom will be joining the march August 18 when it reaches Jerusalem.
Photos Day 2:
Photos of Day 3:
Day 4: August 2
Freedom Marchers Join Village of Zeita and Force Gate Open-First Time in More Than a Year;
Hundreds Expected to Join Tuesday Morning
The Freedom March, which began Friday, July 30 in Zububa, is in its fourth day and is expected to grow to hundreds by Tuesday morning where they will set off from Deir Al-Ghussun.
Today in Zeita, Palestinians were joined by the International Solidarity Movement and Israelis and marched together to the gate and forced it open. This gate had barred 60 farmers from their land since May of 2003. They were immediately confronted by the Israeli Army who pushed back the demonstrators and locked the gate again. The demonstrators held their ground and eventually continued the march.
Day 5: August 3
Internationals and Palestinians Attacked by Border Police
Today the Freedom March began from Deir Al Ghassun walking South to Al Jarushiya.
About 80 marchers peacefully approached the gate at Shweikeh they sang and chanted until stopped by the Israeli Border Police. The Freedom Marchers negotiated with the Border Police and the police told the protesters that they could stand behind the gate. As the marchers retreated they were attacked by the border police.
The police aimed at least ten tear gas canisters directly at the protesters. Eight required on-site first aid for tear gas inhalation. A journalist from a European Newspaper, EBA, was hit in the forehead and jaw with a concussion grenade. The Israeli border police also fired tear gas canisters directly at journalists accompanying the march.
Day 6: August 4
Impact of Wall on Jbarra
The Freedom March was joined by 30-40 Palestinian women from the Tulkarem area who accompanied the march for part of the route.
Traveling south from Tulkarm, the Freedom March arrived at Jbarra village. Jbarra is a small village that has been completely surrounded by the Apartheid Wall and cut off from the rest of the West Bank. There are only two gates to enter and exit the village; one in the North and one in the South. However, only residents of Jbarra can exit or enter through the gate and only with a permit obtained from the Israeli military. Palestinians in the areas surrounding Jbarra may not enter the village and can not obtain permits. Children as young as one year-old, who are residents of Jbarra village, must obtain a permit to exit or re-enter the village. In addition, any vehicle traveling to and from the village must have a permit to do so.
Day 8: August 6
Freedom March Protest Policy of Barring Israelis
[Qalqilya]Friday, late afternoon, the Freedom March was stopped by the Israeli Army as they approached Qalqilya. The Army demanded that each marcher hand in their identity cards and passports in order to identify any person with Israeli citizenship. Israelis are prohibited from entering the Areas A of in the West Bank.
The Freedom Marchers decided to protest the policy of not allowing Israelis into Area A of the West Bank and refused to hand over their passports and identity cards. This policy has several consequences. Israelis are unable to witness the conditions Palestinians live under military occupation and the suffering imposed as a result of the construction of the Apartheid Wall. In addition, Palestinians living within the 48 borders are separated from families and friends and unable to visit loved ones, and goods and services are unable to move between areas.
Day 10: August 8
Protest of Detained Palestinians; Activist Arrested
[Qalqiliya]The Freedom March left Qalqiliya around 10:00am. Palestinians and internationals were joined by approximately thirty additional internationals after spending Saturday in Qalqiliya and surrounding villages.
At around 6:00pm as the Freedom March arrived at a gate in the fence section of the Apartheid Wall, which also serves as a checkpoint, between the village of Azzun Atmah and Beit Amin, they witnessed 15- 20 young Palestinian men being detained by the Israeli Army.
The Freedom Marchers demanded that the men be released and refused to leave until they were set free. They then sat down in the road and chanted. They were surrounded by eight army jeeps and hummers. After five minutes the Israeli soldiers attempted to physically drag internationals away. Although the Freedom Marchers tried to protect each other non-violently, the soldiers managed to detain Karl, a 23 year-old peace activist from New York.
The marchers believe they targeted him for detention because he had led the negotiations with the soldiers, as well as the chants during their protest of those already detained.
Karl was taken to Ariel Police Station where he is at the time of this report, 10:00PM local time.
All but four of the young Palestinians detained at the checkpoint were released after the Freedom March protested their being held by the army. The last two Palestinians were released by 9:30pm and told the Freedom Marchers that they had been detained at the checkpoint for over 24 hours.
Update on Karl, Released August 10, 2004:
Karl was released Monday night 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.
For photos see:
Day 11: August 9
March from Mas-Ha to Az Zawiya
Palestinians, Internationals and Israelis and people of Deir Balut, Az Zawiya, 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 Zawiya 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 500 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 Zawiya.
For photos see: