International Press Center 22 February 2004
With only less than 24 hours left for the scheduled oral hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning the legality of the Israeli Apartheid Wall, Palestinians staged demonstrations in many parts of the West Bank to protest the Israeli construction of the wall, that cuts deep into their lands.
Palestinian citizens and many internationals as well as Israeli peace activists demonstrated in Ramallah, Nablus , Mas’ha Village east of Qalqilya and the town of Beit Soreek near Jerusalem, protesting the construction of the Apartheid Wall and the resulting de facto expropriation and annexation of Palestinian lands by the Israeli occupying authorities.
The demonstrations, especially the one in the village of Mas’ha, which was organized by the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall, took place near the parts of the wall that pass through the village, which has lost many of its land to it. The demonstrators chanted anti-wall slogans, describing it as a huge land-grab and deprive hundreds of Palestinian families from the village of their livelihood.
The largest Palestinian demonstration Saturday was in the city of Nablus, where 2,000 people marched through the streets, chanting anti-wall slogans and demanding its immediate demolition. In the downtown area, several masked men destroyed a cardboard miniature copy of the Israeli wall, signaling the public (and international) demands to remove it.
In the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Jenin, hundreds of people, including women and children, carried banners with slogans against the wall, while in the area of Al Ram and Jerusalem, a large solidarity tent was erected in the main street connecting Al Ram with the occupied East Jerusalem. On Monday, a large rally will be held that will include thousands of dignitaries, school students and people from the areas of Al Ram and Al Barid suburb in Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei’ has dismissed Israel’s route adjustment yesterday and said all parts of the wall built on West Bank land must be removed. “We do not approve of even one millimeter of this wall that falls on our land,” he told the AP.
The Palestinian popular committees are planning several demonstrations and general strikes Monday as a backdrop to the opening of The Hague proceedings. Church bells will be rung and sirens sounded across the Palestinian territories as a moment of silence is observed.