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(en) Israel-Palestine, Immatin, Coalition against the Wall - Press release, 25.08.2005

Date Sat, 27 Aug 2005 14:46:41 +0300

A thousand demonstrators, Palestinians, Israelis and internationals
protested the building of the stretch of Wall next to Immatin.
"This is not a Security Fence, but a way to rob Palestinians of their
land and add it to the Immanuel settlement."
"The route of the Wall penetrates 17 kilometer into the West Bank
and usurpes a big part of the village's lands."
The organizers: "If the army abstains from provocations, such
demonstrations can end without violence."
Some thousand demonstrators, Palestinians, Israelis and internationals held this morning a protest
march towards the site where the "Separation Fence" is being built on the lands of Immatin
village, located deep inside the West Bank at a 17 km distance from
the Green line ('67 border). Previous demonstrations held in this
area were dispersed by the army with much violence.

About 50 Israeli demonstrators, members of Anarchists Against
Fences, Gush Shalom and Ta'ayush arrived at Immatin in the
morning, ready to face army violence, and equipped with onions -
this vegetable being an excellent antidote against tear gas. In the
village center there awaited them a thousand Immatin residents, as
well as a group from Bil'in - where an intensive struggle against the
Separation Fence is going on for months – and also international
volunteers, from America, Italy, Argentina and a group of French

An army officer arrived at the spot in a jeep and told the village
representatives that they had permission to march along the route of
the Wall "on the condition that there will be no violence."

The demonstrators started to walk to the Wall site over a distance of
three kilometres under the blazing sun, while raising their voices
against the Wall and the settlements. Upon reaching the lined-up
soldiers and army vehicles awaiting them they cried out "Take care,
this is a non-violent demonstration". Thereupon they sat down in a
circle, and Zahi Sowan of the Immatin Popular Committee spoke: "We
have no other source of livelihood than our olive trees, which we
inherited from our forfathers. Now you see here the withered
remains of dozens of olive trees uprooted by army bulldozers, and on
the other side of the fence are thousands of trees, of which we will be
robbed. You see the factory belonging to the Immanuel Settlement,
on the hill on the other side of the road. This factory was also built
on a site where trees belonging to us were cut down. We hear that
the state of Israel has dismantled the settlements in the Gaza Strip
and Jenin area, but here they are expanding the settlements, making
our lives bitter."

After him spoke Yonatan Pollak of the Anarchists. "They tell the
Israeli public that this is a Security Fence. That is an outright lie. We
are here 17 kilometres east of the Green Line, deep inside
Palestinian territory. To our west there is already a fence. What is
being built here is a fence within a fence. It has as its sole purpose to
annex and widen the settlement and to imprison the Palestinians in
a small enclave. That is an act of injustice which we oppose, and
which is clearly a violation of international law and infringement of
human rights."

Then was held a Muslim prayer on the site of the Wall, and after that
the demonstrators returned to the village center - to disperse quietly,
and orderly.

"In the media those who demonstrate against annexation and
land-grabbing in the name of the Wall are depicted as a bunch of
violent rioters, though the protestors, Israelis and Palestinians alike,
come out non-violently against injustice and robbery. Today the
army gave proof that, as long as it refrains from provocations, such
demonstrations can end without any violent confrontation taking
place" said Gush Shalom spokesperson Adam Keller, who had
participated in the event.

"Could it be that the new criteria introduced by the army for the
evacuation of settlers influence also the behavior of the soldiers
here? If it would be like this again in Bil'in tomorrow afternoon, we
may have a sign whether there really is a change of the army's
attitude towards Israelis and Palestinians who protest the building of
Walls on stolen land."

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