29 April, 2010 — The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee
Demonstrators managed to disrupt the construction of the Wall in al-Walaje for the second time in a week . A 15 year old demonstrator was beaten, pepper-sprayed and arrested.
Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators managed to stop the construction of the Wall in the village of al-Walaje, south of Jerusalem, for the second time this week. If completed, the path of the Wall in the area will surround the village completely, isolating it from all its lands, the cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem and essentially the rest of the world.
Demonstrators managed to block the bulldozers in the early morning, and even climb and take over one of the machines. A Border Police force at the scene arrested on of the demonstrators – 15 year old Nabil Hajajla – who was beaten and pepper-sprayed. Following Hajajla’s arrest, Border Police officers managed to drag the demonstrators away from the bulldozers and construction was resumed.
Al-Walaje is an agrarian village of about 2,000 people, located south of Jerusalem and West of Bethlehem. Following the 1967 Occupation of the West Bank and the redrawing of the Jerusalem municipal boundaries, roughly half the village was annexed by Israel and included in the Jerusalem municipal area. The village’s residents, however did not receive Israeli residency or citizenship, and are considered illegal in their own homes.
Once completed, the path of the Wall is designed to encircle the village’s built-up area entirely, separating the residents from both Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and almost all their lands – roughly 5,000 dunams. Previously, Israeli authorities have already confiscated approximately half of the village’s lands for the building of the Har Gilo and Gilo settlements, and closed off areas to the south and west of it. The town’s inhabitants have also experienced the cutting down of fruit orchards and house demolition due to the absence of building permits in Area C.
According to a military confiscation order handed to the villagers, the path of the Wall will stretch over 4890 meters between Beit Jala and alWallaja, affecting 35 families, whose homes may be slated for demolition.
Beit Jala is a predominantly Christian town located 10 km south of Jerusalem, on the western side of the Hebron road, opposite Bethlehem. Once completed, the Wall will Isolate 3,200 Dunams of the town’s lands, including almost 3,000 Dunams of olive groves and the only recreational forest in the area, the Cremisan monastery and the Cremisan Cellars winery.
Here’s video of the first action: