Budrus Demonstration Concludes Palestine Popular Resistance Conference

18 July 2011

At least 2 were injured and hundreds suffered tear gas inhalation following the conclusion of the Palestine Popular Resistance Conference in the village of Budrus, in the northern West Bank. The conference brought together over a thousand Palestinians along with international and Israeli supporters over three days to discuss the state of the popular resistance in Palestine, concluding with a large protest against the Annexation Barrier in Budrus.

Large crowds listened to speakers and attended workshops in the villages of Beit Ommar, Ni’lin, and Budrus. Palestinians debated the merits of the resistance and asked questions of political leaders in open forums. Workshops were given on topics ranging from the growing movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel to the growth of the occupation through settlements and the Annexation Barrier.

Noteable speakers included Maher Ghneim, the Palestinian Authority Minister of the Wall and Settlements; Aziz Dweik, the head of Hamas in the West Bank; Abed Alrahim Malouh, the head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Qais Abu Layla, Vice Chairman of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine; and Sultan Abu ‘Ayneyn, leader of the Fatah Movement in Lebanon. Also featured was a phone call from Nash’at Alwahaidy in Gaza City, a leader from the Gaza popular committees.

A large number of cities, villages and towns were represented at the conference. These areas included Beit Ommar, Sourif, Arroub, Tuwani, Yatta, Jerusalem, Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah, Dura, Ni’lin, Budrus, Nabi Saleh, Ma’asara, Jabel Abu Ihlal, Beit Sahour, Sheikh Jarrah, Beit Ula, Bethlehem, Dhahriya, Deir Qaddis, Qujbya, Shuqba, Bil’in, Al Mydia, and Iraq Burin.

Created by a coalition of popular committees, the conference accomplished its intended goal of creating a program for building popular resistance to the occupation. More details will be provided with notes on all three days, all of which will be posted on this site this week.

The third day of the conference, which ended in Budrus, concluded with a demonstration against the Annexation Barrier on the village’s land. Approximately 150 people, including Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists came together in a large protest in front of the barrier. The demonstration had barely begun when the Israeli military began firing excessive amounts of tear gas at the demonstrators. The demonstrators retreated into the village. The army proceeded to fire tear gas into the village, including into a boys elementary school. At least two protesters were injured after being hit by tear gas canisters.

Budrus is known for its successful campaign against the construction of the Annexation Barrier in 2004. The barrier was originally set to divide the village and destroy thousands of olive trees. As a result of a strong and well coordinated popular resistance movement by village residents, the wall was re-routed to run along the Green Line in all but a small section, essentially saving the village over 80% of its land. It was the only village to successfully re-route the Wall solely through popular resistance, without resorting to the Israeli court system.
More details on the design and mission of the conference can be found on the following page: http://palestinesolidarityproject.org/popular-resistance-conference/