Activists protest continuing effects of occupation in Al Masara, confronted by soldiers

17 June 2012

On Friday 16th June 2012, around thirty international activists joined residents and members of the popular committee for the weekly demonstration in Al Masara, a village just North of Beit Ommar.

The demonstration this week took place in opposition to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and in solidarity with hunger striker Mahmoud Sarsak, now on his 90th day of hunger strike. Like many other villages in Palestine, Al Masara has been seriously affected by the establishment of the separation wall and the expansion of nearby settlements. Palestinians are currently unable to cultivate their farmland due to both direct appropriation by the Israeli government and the threat of harassment by settlers and soldiers. Water shortage is also a continual problem for the residents of Al Masara due the settlements’ consumption of the local Palestinian water supply.

During the demonstration, protestors chanted, waved Palestinian flags and played drums as they made their way down the main street of Al Masara before being confronted by a group of soldiers and border police. As the demonstrators attempted to move towards Palestinian farmers’ land, the Israeli Occupation Forces formed a line across the road and blocked their way. Soldiers repeatedly grabbed demonstrators, including children, and pushed them with their shields as they tried to move past the soldiers. Activists continued chanting in peaceful protest for about half an hour longer, after which the demonstration was called to an end, concluding another effort by the residents of Al Masara to protest Israeli policies.