Jayyous Resistance Renewed

19 November 2008

Jayyous, a small village in the Qalqilya district, was the first village to incorporate international and Israeli volunteers and organize a planned, non-violent resistance to the construction of the Annexation Barrier on their land, back in 2002. Now, years after their original resistance, which did not succeed in preventing the construction of the Fence and destruction of hundreds of olive trees, residents are still committed to resisting any further destruction of their land.

When the Barrier was finished in their area, residents of Jayyous were cut off from almost 90% of their agricultural land, with access only via a gate and a set of convoluted permit restrictions imposed by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Now, the IOF has apparently decided that the maintenance of the gate, which was opened sporadically and only after pressure by local villagers, is too complicated and has decided to re-route the Fence, which will return some dunums* of land to the village, but will eliminate the gate, annexing over 6000 dunums of land to Israel forever.

So once again, on November 16th, 2008, the villagers of Jayyous came together in the streets of their village with internationals from several different organizations, and Israeli Anarchists, including at least one who was around for the original demonstrations almost 6 years ago, and attempted to march to their land. This week, the demonstrators were turned back by a massive force of Israeli soldiers and border police who lined up across the streets of the village before the march even began, harassing villagers and preventing them from walking to their land. Still, the demonstration lasted for over an hour, as the demonstrators managed on several occasions to push through the line of soldiers. Towards the end, women from the village, joined by Israeli and international supporters, sat down on the edge of their land, refusing to leave as Israeli soldiers attempted to push them back towards the center of the village.

The significance of the renewal of demonstrations in Jayyous is more than simply another frustrating demonstration. It is a strong symbol for the resilience of the Palestinian people, that they will not go into economic despair and physical isolation quietly.

Another demonstration in Jayyous is planned for this week.

*a dunum is 1/4 of an acre