Palestinians block Israeli bulldozers in alWalaja and Beit Jala

Palestinians block Israeli bulldozers in alWalaja and Beit Jala

BEIT JALA, West Bank: Some 200 demonstrators managed to halt the construction of the wall in the village of alWalaja for almost three hours Sunday morning. Two protesters – a Palestinian and an Israeli – were arrested.

The Israeli citizen dislocated his shoulder during the violent arrest, but has denied access to medical treatment at the police station, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) said in a press statement.

More than 200 protesters – Palestinians, Israelis and international activists – managed to block bulldozers constructing Israel’s Wall from uprooting an olive grove for over three hours on Sunday in the West Bank village of alWalaja, south of Jerusalem.

Construction of the wall on alWalaja’s lands resumed last Thursday. Once completed, it will surround alWalja from all sides – effectively isolating the village from the rest of the world, PSCC reported.

After roughly three hours, military and Border Police forces managed to repel the demonstrators, arresting two – a Palestinian and an Israeli. During the violent arrest, Israeli protester Kobi Snitz’s shoulder was dislocated by the Border Police officers. He is currently held at the Moria police station in Jerusalem, where he is being denied access to medical treatment, the statement added.

Three others, an AP photographer and two demonstrators, were injured and evacuated to a hospital.

Construction of the Wall was also briefly disrupted in the town of Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem Sunday morning. Roughly 100 demonstrators set out towards the town’s groves where bulldozers have been uprooting olive trees at around 11 am. The march was stopped by a military checkpoint at the exit from Beit Jala, where soldiers used tear gas and concussion grenades to try and push back the demonstrators.

A smaller number of demonstrators managed to reach the bulldozers and disrupt the uprooting for a short while, before being removed from the area.

A military force that invaded Beit Jala following the demonstration clashed with the town’s youth, but no arrests or injuries were recorded.

Al-Walaja 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, he 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.

Republished with permission from bikya masr