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Protest at Mas’ha in summer 2003. The round placards are from Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc.
Photo: Noa Olchovsky, 2003.

Protest at Mas’ha in summer 2003. The round placards are from Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc.
Photo: Noa Olchovsky, 2003.

Direct action at Mas’ha, in which Israelis and Palestinians protested together against the Apartheid Wall and symbolically cut open a gate in the fence that encircled Mas’ha. They chose that particular gate because it had been closed for three months despite promises that it would be opened. 90% of Mas’ha’s farmland has been either expropriated or lies outside the barrier. During the action, IDF troops shot one of the Israeli peace activists, Gil Na’amati, in both legs. David Masi’s “You don’t build democracy on demonstrators’ bodies” deals with the efforts of activists to force the issue into the public, the ensuing discussions and the media coverage of the incident.
Photo: Noa Olchovsky, 2003.

Protest with Palestinian and Hamas flags. (During the many months of protests the latter gradually disappeared and villagers united under the Palestinian flags)
Photo: Noa Olchovsky, 2003.


Protesters symbolically plant olive trees on the route of the fence, in the place of the uprooted trees. The army uprooted the replanted trees immediately afterwards.
Photo: Noa Olchovsky, 2004.

Images of soldiers behind the sabra cacti taken from inside the village Budrus. Around Palestinian villages one traditionally finds protective fences of sabras (whose fruits are prickly on the outside, sweet on the inside). Ironically, Israelis born in Israel are also called sabras.
Photo: Noa Olchovsky, 2003.

Protesters blocked the road with rocks to prevent the military in their the jeeps from going into the village to arrest people, especially the organizers
Photo: Noa Olchovsky, 2004.

Protesters burning tires to prevent the military in their jeeps from going into the village to arrest people, especially the organizers. (The act is in fact symbolic, as tires cannot obstruct the jeeps)
Photo: Noa Olchovsky, 2004.

Protest at Deir Qaddis, just above the settlement of Modi’in Illit: an old man is carried away from the bulldozer. Deir Qaddis is another of the eight villages that were to be closed into an enclave
Photo: Noa Olchovsky, 2004.

The village of Budrus

[Budrus is one of the seven other villages, which were supposed to be closed in like an enclave. Besides organising continuous protests, the villages also hired a lawyer and took their case to court. By now it seems there will be a precedent setting decision, moving the fence’s path.]

"If the fence were on the mountain, it would give more security," ventures Iyad Ahmed Murar, a leader of the protest in Budrus, whose two brothers are in administrative detention. "But they want a fence in the wadi. Common sense says that if you want a security fence, put it on the mountain and not in the wadi. But they want to destroy the land and the olives. What difference would it make if they moved 200 meters toward the Green Line?"

The objective is […] to move them away from the Green Line, especially in the vicinity of Ben-Gurion airport. What can they do? "Demonstrate in a peaceful manner," says Murar the rebel.

Protests began on November 9, when construction work first started there. Since then, they've been demonstrating and demonstrating, always in a peaceful manner. Sometimes once a week, sometimes every day; sometimes the entire village; sometimes only the women and children. They walk down through the groves toward the route of the fence and get as close as possible to the soldiers and Border Police officers. Murar:

"We've learned lessons - where we did good and where we did bad. They [the Israelis] have also learned lessons. Maybe they'll strengthen the curfew more when they're working. But our plan is to defend our land and our trees in a peaceful manner. Sometimes among our people there are a lot of ideas about what to do against the occupation. We here have chosen a different strategy. Our strategy in this small village is that we're turning things over. In the north, from Jenin until Budrus, there were Israeli and international demonstrators, supported by Palestinians. But here, we think that it's our problem and that we have to defend our land and do something, and the Israelis and international protesters are only supporting us. First the Palestinians, and then the internationals. We are very grateful for Israeli and international support, but the Palestinians have to make a stand. We're adopting a special strategy, a peaceful strategy. The Hamas here, too. In the beginning, they walked with their green flags in the demonstrations. After the first three demonstrations, we only carry the flag of Palestine. Everyone together. In a totally peaceful way. We also all agreed on one thing: We are not against the Israelis and not against the Jews and not against the soldiers. We are only against the occupation. We are against the bulldozers [...]

If someone asks: Why peaceful? I tell him: I've tried all the ways and the peaceful way works best. The worst thing is to kill the innocent. That's the worst thing in the world. They kill day and night and say that we are terrorists. But we need all the world to be on our side. I'm against killing people. All people, Jews and Arabs. I'm not afraid or ashamed to say that. That's why I'm demonstrating peacefully against the fence."

After Gideon Levy / Haaretz, February 11, 2004.

Barrier work between Beit Surik and Mevasseret Tzion. An access road is being prepared here, not the route of the barrier itself.
Photo: Arik Ascherman, 2004.

Har Adar, which straddles the Green Line, overlooking the village of Qattana. Qattana, along with Biddu, Beit Surik and five other villages are trying to change the route of the barrier in their area.
Photo: Arik Ascherman, April 2004.

Violent Palestinian protests against the security fence in Biddu village. Palestinian rioters confront the security forces.
Photo: Avi Ohayon / Israeli National Photo Collection, 2004.

Violent Palestinian protests against the security fence in Bidu village. Security forces prepare to confront the Palestinian rioters.
Photo: Avi Ohayon / Israeli National Photo Collection, 2004.

Construction on the separation barrier begins in Biddu
Photo: Nidal K'anana / B’Tselem, 2004.

Demonstration in Beit Surik
Photo: Anne Paquier / Al-Haq, 2004.

High Court of Justice President Aharon Barak said that he would issue a ruling on one section of the fence north of Jerusalem “by the end of the year.” Security officials said the many petitions presented to the court by Palestinian villagers and their Israeli supporters could undermine the argument that the fence is essentially a security barrier.

“If the court does not see the fence as a security barrier, which protects life, it would be a major impediment to the project.”

A senior army officer to Haaretz, May 2004

Most of the petitions presented to the High Court relate to the fence's planned construction between Modiin and northern Jerusalem. Clashes and demonstrations have taken place near the Palestinian village of Biddu and elsewhere, and residents of Mevesseret Zion added their names to those of their Palestinian neighbors in a joint petition to alter the fence's route.

The Ministry of Justice has also delayed construction of the fence north of Jerusalem due to the fear that its original route would totally encompass a number of Palestinian villages, something which would not be approved by the High Court, Maariv reported.

“Based on the work on the ground it seems unlikely that the construction of the fence around Jerusalem will be completed for years,” Marc Luria, a spokesman for the pro-fence group, Security Fence for Israel, told the Jerusalem Post.

Israelinsider, May 18, 2004

Demonstrations in the village of Qattana

Hundreds of people demonstrated on March 6, 2004 against the Apartheid Wall currently being constructed on their lands in the village of Qattana. Palestinians from the neighboring villages of Biddu and Beit Surik joined them. The demonstration began shortly after Friday prayers, with the villagers walking together towards lands already cleared for the Wall’s path. On the march, villagers raised the Palestinian flag, and called for a stop to the Wall. Work on the Wall in this area was temporarily stopped five days ago after a decision from the Israeli High Court shortly after four Palestinian martyrs were killed in demonstrations against the Wall in Biddu. Three martyrs were killed on Thursday, February 26th after being shot by Occupation forces while another man shot during the same demonstration Muhammad Badwan 22 years old died the following Wednesday after being in a coma for almost a week.

In Qattana the Wall will confiscate 300 dunums of the village agricultural lands for its path and will isolate hundreds more behind it. As well the Wall will isolate several families will be isolated from the rest of the village.

PENGON news, 2004

Demonstrations in seven villages: Biddu, Beit Souriq, Qattana, Al Qubeiba, Beit Anan, Beit Lekiya, Beit Duqqu and Beit Ijza

Villagers stand to lose 51,650 dunums of land, most of it outside the enclave, or prison, they will be trapped in. Two villages, Nebi Samuel and Beit Iksa, will also lose land in the Fence zone. Muhammad Dahle, lawyer representing the villages, said these land losses are not just a symptom of the Fence, villages have been constantly losing land for the past three years, due to settlement expansion. They will also lose all eight water wells vital to their existence in summer. Even the local garbage dump will be expropriated. Roads have already been blocked off, limiting freedom of movement or trade, leading to rising unemployment.

Their story, as he told the Supreme Court this morning, will be the same as Qalqilya’s. A ghetto. Locked in on all sides by the Fence and “settler’s only” Road 443.

International Solidarity Movement / Media Office, February 24, 2004

Tayyush: Seen from inside
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Beit Surik – Biddu
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