Troops Attack Protesters At A New Wall Section Construction Site Near Bethlehem
See also this report from Ma’an News Agency
Israeli soldiers attacked, Wednesday morning, home and land owners from Beit Jala town, near Bethlehem southern West Bank, when they protested the destruction of their land to build a new section of the separation wall.
Residents along with international and Israeli supporters gathered near the site and tried to stop the bulldozers from destroying their olive trees.
Troops arrived at the location and attacked people using rifle buts and batons and removed them while bulldozers continued to work. The army started to bulldoze land at the new location on Tuesday.
35 families will lose their lands and their homes will be blocked by the Wall. In total 75 acres of land will be taken for the wall from those families, Beit Jala Municipality told IMEMC.
A few years back Israel took part of the lands owned by the families to build a road that connects an Israeli settlement in southern West Bank with settlement surrounding the nearby Jerusalem city.
The army in 2006 said it will take over the rest of land to build the wall close to the settler’s road. Residents hired a lawyer and fought in court. Addeel Hammad, a house owner affected by the news wall section spoke to IMEMC:
“On Monday they came to my house and gave us the new orders that they are starting the work and then started to work on Tuesday, they uprooted olive trees and destroyed the sewage system.”
Lamyia al-Arrja, council member at the Beit Jala Municipality told IMEMC that the new wall section will have devastating effect on the residents:
“The Wall will cut through people’s homes and lands, destroying trees. Residents will not have the ability to expand their homes anymore. The town of Beit Jala was affected a lot by the settlements and settler’s roads, and now we are completely surrounded because of the settlement, their roads, and the wall.”
Back in 2004 the International Court of Justice in the Hague announced the Israeli wall built in the West Bank was illegal.
Still photos on flickr of Wednesday’s protest from activestills (turn on the info-option to see the explanations)