Palestinian village stages protest

Dozens of Palestinian residents of Bait Surik village, northwest of Jerusalem, have staged a rally in their farms in protest against Israel's decision to build a separation barrier there.

    Protesters pulling down a wall in a symbolic protest in Bait Surik

    Aljazeera reporter Jivara al-Budairi said on Sunday that foreign and Israeli supporters of the Palestinian cause had joined the protesting residents in their olive farms totalling about 500 acres.

    Israeli occupation troops, backed by border guards and soldiers on horses, have been deployed in the area in anticipation of clashes with the protesters. 
    Bait Surik had a cultivable area of 13,000 acres in 1948. Of that only 1300 acres remain now, she said.
    The village at present is encircled by the Eldar settlement, also known as Radar because of the presence of an Israeli radar. The settlement served as an Israeli military base during the 1967 war.  

    Setback anniversary 
    Also on Sunday, Palestinians observed the 38th anniversary of the Naksa, or Setback, which saw Israel completing its occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, al-Budairi said. 

    Israel has ignored a World Court
    ruling against the West Bank wall

    Committees mobilising foreign supporters, such as the National Initiative led by Mustafa al-Barghuthi, joined the protests, and foreign and Israeli supporters are expected to join them.
    "It seems that these committees are planning to bring more foreign supporters, fearing attacks on the village and confiscation of residents' lands by Israeli soldiers," she added. 
    The wall will surround Bait Surik village and all other villages located northwest of Jerusalem and which are now located inside the 1967 borders.

    Petition rejected

    Meanwhile, Israel's supreme court has rejected a petition submitted by 24 Palestinian villages to freeze construction on a portion of the separation barrier Israel is building around Jerusalem.

    The Defence Ministry said in a posting on its website on Sunday the villages had asked the court to issue an interim injunction to suspend construction between Har Adar and Bait Surik, west of Jerusalem.

    They had also asked the court to reject part of the land seizure order for the construction of the barrier, the posting said.

    The posting did not provide the court's rationale.

    Offices stormed

    In other developments, fighters loosely affiliated to the Fatah party of Mahmud Abbas on Sunday stormed public offices in Nablus under a hail of gunfire, accusing the Palestinian leader of failing to honour security promises.

    "We demand that the Palestinian Authority, especially Abu Mazen (Abbas), keeps their promises. He promised us jobs in the security services and that he would secure our safety. We have seen none of it"

    Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades

    The band of 20 armed men from al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades barged into the local Interior Ministry office in the northern West Bank city, opened fire and ordered everyone out, Palestinian security sources said.

    The gang then stormed the governor's office at the other end of town, ordered out all staff under gunfire and lightly wounded one man, they added.

    Nablus governor Mahmud al-Uol was in Ram Allah at the time.

    "We demand that the Palestinian Authority, especially Abu Mazin (Abbas), keeps their promises. He promised us jobs in the security services and that he would secure our safety. We have seen none of it," al-Aqsa said in a statement.

    Jobs granted

    The organisation accused Israel of still trying to arrest or kill its members despite promising at a Middle East peace summit in February to halt such operations.

    In the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said about 40 Fatah-affiliated fighters who closed off access to the Egyptian border crossing in a similar protest on Saturday would be granted security jobs.

    "The ministry has agreed to sign these fighters into the Palestinian security services. The ministry will organise special military training and place them with one of the security forces," said Interior Ministry spokesman Tawfeek Abu Khoosah.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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