Monday, November 9, 2009

Tearing down the Israeli apartheid wall, in occupied Palestine:

"Palestinians breach West Bank wall"

Monday, November 9, 2009


Palestinian and international activists pull down a section of the controversial Israeli barrier in the al-Amari refugee camp in the West Bank city of Ramallah today. Photograph: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

Activists made a hole in Israel's West Bank wall for the second time in less than a week today in a demonstration to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Their faces masked, the activists tethered a two-metre wide section of the cement barrier to a truck which then pulled it over.

The crowd of around 50, which had gathered at a section of the barrier near an Israeli checkpoint at Qalandiya, cheered as the six-metre high section fell.

Israeli troops fired tear gas at the crowd, some of whom threw stones over the wall. Several demonstrators passed through the hole they had made, hoisting a Palestinian flag and setting ablaze tyres on the other side.

The panels of the walls in Israel's separation barrier are cast in the same inverted T-shape as the wall constructed through Berlin by communist East Germany.

Israel began building its barrier of fences and walls at the height of the Palestinian uprising that began in 2000 and it now runs along most of the West Bank border, at many points encroaching into West Bank territory.

It says it was built to prevent suicide bombers entering Israel and has largely succeeded in doing so. Palestinians see it as an attempt to seize land on which they aim to establish an independent state.

Violent protests at its construction have become a regular Friday event in which Israeli police fire gas and rubber bullets at stone-throwing Palestinians.

"Today we commemorate 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall," said Abdullah Abu Rahma, leader of the People's Campaign to Fight the Wall. "This is the first step in a series of activities we will be holding in the coming days to express our firm attachment to our land and our rejection of this wall."

The protest mirrored a similar event last Friday in the West Bank village of Nilin, where Palestinian youths almost toppled a segment of the wall using a hydraulic car-jack.

In a non-binding decision in 2004, the International Court of Justice said the barrier was illegal and should be taken own because it crossed occupied territory. Israeli leaders have said the barrier is a temporary obstacle that could be removed once a peace agreement with the Palestinians is signed.