Activists Return to Dhahariya to Open Road

20 August 2007

This Saturday, August 18, international activists joined residents of Dhahariya as they attempted to open a roadblock for a 4th time. The last time the roadblock was opened in may, 3 internationals and 2 Israelis were arrested. This time, Palestinians and internationals marched from Dhahariya to the roadblock, which cuts off 90,000 people from directly accessing Hebron, the district’s main city. When they arrived at the roadblock, demonstrators wrapped the rope around one of the blocks and started pulling together, shouting, ‘wahad, thneen, theleth’ (‘one, two, three!’). Soon after they began, an Israeli Occupation Forces jeep arrived with four soldiers. One soldier began videotaping the activists and stood on the block the activists were attempting to move. Not wanting to cause any injury to the soldier, the demonstrators moved on to another boulder and attempted to move it. Several more jeeps with many more soldiers arrived who tried to stop the demonstrators by putting their feet between the rope and the boulder, knowing the demonstrators were taking care to not injure the soldiers. In a final attempt to move one of the boulders, international activists stood in a semi-circle around one of the boulders while others heaved on the rope so that the Israeli army could not interfere. Activists also began removing smaller boulders by hand, not willing to give up.

When a commander arrived the soldiers began pointing out Palestinians who they believed to be ‘leaders’ of the action. One soldier grabbed a Palestinian from PSP but other activists intervened and he was let go. After this attempted arrest the demonstrators peacefully left the area. Though the road was not successfully opened, the people of Dhahariya still felt the action was positive: “They [the Israeli military] think we are afraid of them. They think we will not come. When we stay [even] after they arrive, we show them we are not afraid. This is [success],” said one local resident.