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An Example of Cooperation and Courage

The main entrance to Qaryut village is blocked
by a large earth and rock mound.

This week, two MPTers and three other internationals went to the small village of Qaryut to participate in a demonstration against the blockade of a road leading directly from the main highway to the village. The road blockade forced residents to take a much longer access route. It turned out to be much more than a demonstration. It was an example of planning, courage, cooperation and persistence.

Qaryut, a Palestinian village of 2,500, is surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements on three sides. Since 2000, sixty percent of the land around the village has been confiscated by the settlements. Recently Israeli authorities have confiscated an additional 225 acres of agricultural land to build three new roads for the settlements. This land belongs to about 150 Palestinian families living in Qaryut.

Large blocks needed the force of several strong men.

Shortly after noon men and boys, young and old, came down the road and gathered in front of the massive rock and gravel barrier. With shovels, hoes and bare hands they began to remove the road block. Five Israeli occupation force jeeps arrived and soon the whiz of tear gas bombs was heard.

Five Israeli jeeps with heavily armed soldiers arrived
in an effort to control this nonviolent demonstration.

At this point about 75 of the younger demonstrators hurried across the field to block the main highway Number 60. The soldiers were forced to turn their attention to this problem, but could not use the tear gas because of its effects on motorists.

In a clever maneuver youth moved to the main highway
to block traffic.

Several stopped for midday prayer.

Meantime work on the road barrier continued and many of the young boys and older men gathered for prayer between the barrier and the Israeli soldiers who had by this time abandoned their plans of stopping the demonstration.

There were loud cheers and whistles as the first car crossed the barrier and made its way to the village.

Cheering and whistling, the crowd greeted the first car across.

Later, at a gathering in the village center, leaders of the demonstration reminded the gathering that this was the 105th time since 2000 that they had opened their road -- and they were ready to do it again!

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