Al Khadr is yet another example of a peaceful village bearing the brunt of the Israeli occupation's policies to annex land while undermining the social and economic viability of the Bethlehem governorate. The soon to be built Apartheid wall near Al Khadr will isolate 95% of the village's lands behind the wall. The result will be to push the people of Al Khadr further towards economic ruin and poverty.
Demonstrations against the Apartheid wall have been organized and are picking up momentum. The event which was first organized two weeks ago is gathering an increasing crowd of locals and internationals. The foreigners who are present come from various NGOs including some Christian organizations. Community leaders are hoping this process will continue so that when construction begins, there will be a critical mass in order to pressure the Occupation Authorities to at least re-route the wall further from the village.
Like the majority of resistance in Palestine, demonstrations have been non-violent. In the last event, following Friday prayers demonstrators marched through the village to the Israeli controlled road. Approximately fifteen minutes later two Israeli jeeps arrived with armed soldiers. A short speech was held commending those present and thanking the internationals for their solidarity. Later a group of Palestinian youths arrived in a car blasting Arabic music and the entire crowed broke out into spontaneous clapping and dancing. The soldiers stood on watching apparently not enjoying themselves.
Despite being a peaceful gathering the soldiers eventually demanded that the people vacate the area. When the crowd refused they began taking vantage positions and threatened to fire tear gas unless the crowd moved. A large proportion of those present in the demonstration were young children and for their safety parents and community leaders agreed to leave vowing to return next week.
Israel's plan to build the Apartheid wall through the lands of Al Khadr provides a powerful insight into the true purpose behind the wall which is to annex land while controlling Palestinian demographics by fencing them into ghettos. Israel's disengagement is not about handing over genuine sovereignty but a re-organization of military occupation aimed at increasing the efficiency of its exploitation and control.
Events in Al khadr also indicate how the majority of Palestinians protest against Israel's unjust policies non-violently but due to the media's interest in sensationalism such behavior receives little attention. The power disparity between Palestinians and the state of Israel will probably ensure Israel will continue its crimes against the Palestinian people. Nevertheless, events in Al Khadr shows where there is repression one always finds resistance and despite the odds against them the people will always chose resistance over giving up their freedom.
[Bethlehemghetto would like to thank Odog for the submission of this story. Submissions are always welcome.]