Um Salamuna Continues Resistance, IOF Continues Closures
On Friday, August 31, international and Israeli activists joined the people of Um Salamuna in their weekly demonstration against the Annexation Fence being built on their land. This week, the march took a new path, walking up into the land of Hassan, a farmer who will lose most of his land to the illegal settlement of Efrat if the Annexation Fence is completed. This was the first time in over 3 months that Hassan has been able to access his land, which is close to the settlement and on the other side of the where the Fence is being constructed. As demonstrators began walking up into Hassan’s vineyards, the Israeli Occupation Forces immediately marched over to the demonstrators and declared the entire area a ‘closed military zone’, announcing that the demonstrators, who were sitting and eating grapes, were a threat to security in the area and therefore had to leave. The farmer demanded that he be allowed to stay at least long enough to survey his vines and land.
In an unusual move, the Army agreed on the condition that the rest of the demonstration dispersed. Having achieved the success of accessing the land, the demonstrators agreed that most would leave, while 3 remained with Hassan to check his land.
Afterwards, Palestinians, internationals, and Israelis all piled into cars to head towards the second demonstration of the day in Al-Walaja. However, as was the case the week before, the Israeli military set up a checkpoint at the entrance to the village. In addition, they also blocked off all other routes into the village and had soldiers positioned around the entire village, keeping solidarity activists and the media out. The demonstration proceeded without the solidarity activists, who immediately began planning how to ensure that they will be at the demonstration next week.