In brief Al Walaja lost it original village site and was reestablished nearby. The continuing construction of the wall will greatly reduced the village’s access to land, water, and the rest of Palestine. Al Walaja will be completely surrounded by a prison like wall with only one access road connecting them to the rest of the West Bank.
As prayers ended we walked downhill to see the construction route that has been cut through the olive groves. It was a damp day and a muddy walk. For most of the route there was no sign of the military or police
We moved onto a restricted road and were told that only cars with yellow plates (those originating in Israel) could use this road. At one point Palestinians began to place rocks on the road. The crowd’s presence slowed traffic allowing them to drive carefully around the rocks. There were no rocks thrown and no threatening gestures. Many activists were uncomfortable with the rocks on the road. Indeed they did present a considerable hazard to cars moving at normal speed. A short debate started with statements like: “This is a serious hazard; we are here to protect from violence and thus should remove the rocks.” Others said: “We are to be Palestinian led; this is their demonstration.” The discussion was friendly with most of us having very mixed feelings. As we were causing traffic to slow down there was no serious danger at the time. Within minutes one of the Palestinian leaders came over and began to kick rocks out of the road. Activists immediately began to help him. Police arrived shortly thereafter but the rocks were gone by the
The police did try to stop our movement but were greatly outnumbered. The demonstration just moved around them. They followed along behind in their jeep. We approached an entrance to a restricted area and found a line of soldiers waiting for us. After some talking and mutual picture.taking, the demonstration took a side road back to the Mosque.
No rocks thrown, no arrests, no tear gas or the like which led to a jubilant mood of having achieved some success – at least a chance to express our displeasure, have it heard and return home without injury. We were mindful that such demonstrations are a weekly occurrence in parts of Palestine. They are indeed so common that they seldom make the news anymore. But Palestinians risk arrest and injury on a regular basis to protest the injustices of the occupation.