Thursday, July 10, 2008

A mass demonstration in Ni'alin 10-7-2008

A mass demonstration in Ni'alin 10-7-2008:

"Break the siege, stop the fence --

A mass demonstration in Ni'alin

An especially big demonstration will be held in the village of Ni'alin on the morning of the coming Thursday, commemorating the anniversary of The Hague ruling which defined the Apartheid Wall a crime.The village of Ni'alin, which is located in the Ramallah district, has for more than a month now been leading an intense struggle against the de-facto appropriation of 2,500 of its 7,000 dunams of land by the 'separation fence'. The route of the fence in this area, much like the famous case of Bil'in, has been planned in such a way that would allow the near by illegal settlement of Hashmonaim to expand on lands that will be 'left behind' the fence."

"Happy Birthday" to the Israeli violations of international law

On Wednesday the 9th of July 2008, it has been 4 years since the International Court of Justice of La Haye, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has given its ruling concerning the Israeli apartheid Wall in the West Bank and East-Jerusalem.

Clear and accurate, the advisory opinion determined that “The construction of the Wall being built by Israel in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem is contrary to international law.” As a consequence, the ICJ ruled that Israel must halt the construction of the Wall, dismantle forthwith the structure, return the land to Palestinians whose property has been seized and pay compensation for all the damage caused to them. Although this is an advisory –nonbinding- legal opinion, an overwhelming majority of UN member states voted for General Assembly Resolution which called on Israel to comply with the ICJ opinion.

Still, four years after the International Court opinion, Israel has not complied with the ICJ opinion yet and the apartheid Wall construction continues. It is Ni'lin turn now to fight and organize popular non-violent struggles to resist the confiscation of the palestinian land. But before Ni'lin's people, the villagers from Bi'lin demonstrated, as well as the ones from Jayyous, Abud, At-tuwani, Beit Sira, Qybia and in some many more places all across the West Bank. Israel is continuously stealing land by establishing settlements and building new sections of the Wall while villagers are peacefully demonstrating –sometimes for years- to protest against what has been recognized illegal by The Hague.

The construction of Israel's 9-meters high-Wall began on the 16th of June 2002. The Wall will extend over some 800 km, when totally completed. Now, more than 56,5% has been completed while 9,9 % is under construction and 33,9 % more projected. Nearly 80% of the total projected Wall route is being built inside the West Bank -including East-Jerusalem- side of the 1967's Green Line, on a land confiscated from Palestinians by the Israeli military. No section of the Wall is being built on the Israeli side of the Green Line. According to the Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OCHA), when complete, approximately 10% of West Bank territory, including East Jerusalem, will be isolated by the Wall and physically connected to Israel.

A so-called security measure

The Israeli government has stated that the Wall was conceived to reduce the number of terrorist attacks. It maintains that “the sole purpose of the Security Fence, as stated in the Israeli Government decision of July 23rd 2001, is security and Israel's response to suicide bombers who enter into Israel”. (OCHA, July 2008). However officials from the Israeli Government, such as the Israeli Minister of Justice Haim Ramon stated that “the separation fence is being built first and foremost for security reasons, but at the end of the day it has political implications.” (OCHA, July 2008)

The ICJ advisory opinion does not say something different by mentioning that “the Wall is not a security necessity” and “the construction of the wall and its associated regime create a 'fait accompli' on the ground that could well become permanent, in which case, and notwithstanding the formal characterization of the wall by Israel, it would be tantamount to de facto annexation”.

The Wall will so annex an important amount of the West Bank lands, including some of the most fertile agricultural land and richest regarding water resources. With its matrix of checkpoints, buffer zones, electrified fencing, watch towers, sniper towers and roads for patrol vehicles; that prevent the Palestinians from freedom of movement, access to agricultural lands, water, health services and other basics needs, the Wall is a master piece of Israel apartheid policy. Furthermore, it will also isolate some 60,500 Palestinians living in 42 villages and towns in a closed military zone limbo between the Wall and the Green Line. Declared closed by military order since 2003, all Palestinians living there, or wanting to enter are now required to obtain permits from the Israeli authorities. 15 communities with a total population of 31,400 Palestinians will be completely surrounded by the Wall.

As a matter of fact, by isolating West Bank villages from each other, Israel is –rather than trying to secure its land and citizens- aiming to fragment the West Bank into Cantons and ghettos, attempting to prevent, by 'fait accompli' on the ground, the creation of a free and fully-sovereign Palestinian state. All this, in the eyes of a silent international community that has itself approved and voted the Court advisory opinion.

Stop The Wall Campaign

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