Demonstrators March in Defiance of Israeli Forces in South Betlehem

6 July 2007

On Friday July 6 about one hundred protesters gathered at Um Salamuna to participate in the ongoing resistance against the Wall, including dozens of internationals and Israelis. After a prayer on amidst the trees, demonstrators marched to the path of the Annexation barrier, lead by singing and cheering. Then about twenty soldiers met the demonstrators at construction site and tried to block the march forward. The soldiers surrounded the demonstrators who continued to loudly chant and tried to push through the line of the Israeli Occupation Forces. The demonstrators then sat down together and a member of the local Popular Committee whose land is being confiscated by Israel spoke passionately about how the land had been in his family for generations and he would never give it up. He then pointed to the mayor of the nearby settlement, Efrat, who was watching the demonstrators behind a tree on the hill, and spoke directly to him, saying he would continue to fight for his land, while the mayor smirked back at the group. The demonstrators then rose and marched in the opposite direction from before, but the Israeli forces again attempted to block the group who turned a third time. Having caught the soldiers off guard, they followed the protesters from behind At one point three jeeps tried to drive through the protesters, who in turn surrounded the jeep and blocked it from traveling further. The soldiers revved up their engines to threaten the protesters while more soldiers arrived and violently pushed people away from the jeep. The people then peacefully marched back to the village.