Non-Violent Resistance Expands in Betlehem District

26 January 2008

Yesterday, January 25, was the second weekly demonstration near the entrance to Al-Khadr, a village adjacent to Betlehem that will lose most of its agricultural land when the Annexation Barrier is completed in the area. An Israeli-only bypass road and a tunnel is also being constructed on their land, tearing up hundreds of olive trees in the process. Over 1000 participants from villages all around Betlehem gathered this week, joined by international and Israeli solidarity activists. Demonstrators prayed in the street, and then began to march towards Route 60, the main highway connecting Betlehem with Jerusalem and Hebron, and a thoroughfare for both Palestinian and Israeli settler traffic. Their goal was simple: to have the drivers along Route 60 see and understand the reality of the devastation this Wall will cause. The Israeli Occupation Forces were intent on making sure that the peaceful demonstrators did not approach the road. They lobbed over a dozen tear gas canisters and percussion grenades into the crowd, trying to force them to disperse. Though they did not reach the street, the demonstration was energizing. Leaders of local Popular Committees all reiterated their committment to continuing their resistance.