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(en) Palestine-Israel, Media, The joint struggle against the apartheid wall/fence continue Israeli signs get activist makeover

Date Sun, 05 Jun 2005 10:44:59 +0300

Israelis driving along Highway 505 in the West Bank have been
greeted with an unexpected sight. Signs that usually guide them
to settlements instead on Saturday reminded them of the illegality
of the construction on confiscated West Bank land.
A sign pointing to Ariel, the largest settlement in the northern West
Bank, built on land belonging to the Palestinian villagers of Salfit,
now marks the way in Hebrew, Arabic and English to "stolen land".
Another sign that indicates the distance to Ariel from an Israeli
checkpoint 12km away reminds drivers of the ongoing occupation
and of the separation wall being built around Palestinian towns.

"1967: Occupation; 2005: Apartheid Wall in Salfit" read the signs.

Signs of Truth, a group of Israeli and international activists acting
in solidarity with local Palestinians, altered the signs on Saturday to
coincide with the 38th anniversary of the occupation of the West
Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967.

Painful anniversary

Later on Saturday, demonstrators protested against the separation

Palestinians also protested
against the extension of the wall
"We came together today to bring some truth to the signs in the
West Bank region and specifically in Ariel, where all signs point to
settlements and ignore current realities of Palestinians," said one of
the organisers and member of the International Women's Peace
Service (IWPS), Hanna M, who asked that, for her protection, her
full name not be used.

"Road signs that previously marked Jewish-only settlements are
now proclaiming historical and current realities," she said.


The activists, marching with Palestinian villagers of the Salfit
region, were confronted by Israeli soldiers.

"We were walking out the village, towards the main road, and the
soldiers stopped us, 40 or 50 of them, and 15 Jeeps. We made a
line, but they kept pushing us back, and at some point lunged
forward and started beating us. They took one Israeli and beat him.
His head and leg were injured, and he was carried away to a
hospital," said Hanna M.

A Palestinian from the village from Marda, Adel Shehadah, was
also injured, according to eyewitnesses. Both were hospitalised, and
news on their condition was not immediately available.

On Friday, Israel revealed plans to build 22 more homes in Ariel,
despite US pleas the week before to end the expansion of
settlement outposts.

Ongoing annexation

The protest march along Highway 505 from Marda to Kifl Hares,
parallel to the proposed path of the wall, was to assert the villagers'
right to be on their land, said Naffat Khuffash, a Palestinian
organiser of the protest and resident of Marda.

"We called for protest in order to call for an end to the occupation
and the annexation of our lands in Salfit. The wall being built will
split Salfit into three parts, and isolate it from Nablus," said
Khuffash, who is coordinator of the Popular Committee for
Resisting the Apartheid Wall.

Israeli road signs normally mark
the settlements only
Khuffash said the barrier threatened farmers in the area.

"Yesterday hundreds of olive trees were cut down in front of me,
and it pained me deeply. They are cutting hundreds of years of
Palestinian toil and sweat. Now the farmer who works to build his
land sees it being cut down for no other reason than the pioneering
of illegal settlements … it makes me doubt any peace can

On Wednesday and Thursday, 500 trees were cut in Marda to make
way for the Ariel loop of the separation wall.

The wall was ruled illegal by the Hague-based International Court
of Justice in July 2004.
* About 50 Israeli activists from the anarchists against the wall
and the wider coalition against the wall participated in the march
and activities around. The Israeli comrade injured is L. P. of the AATW.

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