Al Khader Today: the True Face of the Israeli Occupation in a Nutshell

Report, June 29 2001 – A hundred Israeli peace activists tried to pay a solidarity visit to the Al-Khader residents whose lands were chosen for yet another settlement outpost. The peace seekers, among them former Knesset Member Uri Avnery, were stopped at the branch road leading to Al Khader. The area was declared “closed military zone.” When it became clear that it was closed only to peace activists but settlers were allowed to pass, the demonstrators sat down to block their passage.

Report, June 29 2001 – A hundred Israeli peace activists tried to pay a solidarity visit to the Al-Khader residents whose lands were chosen for yet another settlement outpost. The peace seekers, among them former Knesset Member Uri Avnery, were stopped at the branch road leading to Al Khader. The area was declared “closed military zone.” When it became clear that it was closed only to peace activists but settlers were allowed to pass, the demonstrators sat down to block their passage.

They were forcibly dispersed and six were detained and taken to the police station at the Efrat settlement. A simultaneous demonstration of
the Al-Khader people themselves was dispersed with live bullets, leaving four wounded one in serious condition.

Background

Illegal new settlements (“outposts”) are being established on newly-seized parcels of Palestinian land, without the flimsiest pretence of
legality. Rather then stop those who rob land in broad daylight, the army and police move to
provide them full protection, and no effort whatsoever is made to prevent the settler movement from bringing in mobile homes to make life more convenient for their “Hilltop Generation.”

The full power of the forces of “Law and Order,” or what passes for such on the Wild West bank, is turned on the legal landowners,
should they try to make any protest, and also on Israelis who seek to protest the injustice.

It has been going on for years, all over the Occupied Territories – almost regardless of the party and Prime Minister in power, or of whether the Peace Process was declared to be thriving or moribund. And once seized, a parcel of land was
almost never relinquished by the settlers.

One of the few exceptions is a hilltop at the southern end of El-Khader village, Bethlehem District. In 1995 it was seized by the settlers of Efrat – a large, fast-expanding settlement which is slowly but steadily eating away the agricultural
lands of those forced to become its neighbors.

A joint struggle of the El-Khader villagers and Gush Shalom activists culminated with an
exceptional decision by the Rabin Government to remove the invading settlers.

But a month ago, the Efrat settlers came back, seizing again the same hilltop and placing three mobile homes on the top. Ever since then, El-Khader was the scene of ongoing struggle, with joint Israeli-Palestinian non-violent acts of
protest and resistance being answered by the army and police with a more and more harsh approach – as you may remember from previous messages.

[ see also related items:

Cracks in Israel’s “National Unity” & More Earth-Moving Protests –
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1302

Palestine 101: Palestinian Refugees & Washington’s Role In Mass Expulsions – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=965

Palestine 102: “Barak’s Generous Offers” A Political Map of Israel’s Proposed Borders with Palestine – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1404
]

Author: Adam Keller & Beate Zilversmidt

News Service: GUSH SHALOM Activists List

URL: http://www.gush-shalom.org/