Organised by the one-year-old Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, the Palestinian events are scheduled to take place primarily in the West Bank and Gaza from 9 November.
That day of protest will herald a week of events that include demonstrations near the barrier construction site, a nationwide strike and informative exhibitions.
“We are doing this to show the world that the Israelis are building a wall in the 21st century in a time where all the walls were demolished including the Berlin wall, ” Ayman Radi, one of the campaign’s organisers, told Aljazeera.net.
“We want to clarify that this wall is not for security reasons as the Israelis claim but to conquer more Palestinian lands thus giving no future for the Palestinian state,” he added.
Some early protests began Saturday evening when several hundred Israelis and Palestinians demonstrated in Sawahah, an Arab town east of Jerusalem. The protest was organised by the peace groups Tayush and Gush Shalom.
Builders began work on the concrete apartheid wall in June 2002 between the Palestinian towns of Qalqilya and Jenin. About 150km of the expected 245km barrier has been built so far.
Many in Qalqilya were forced to
Critics of the structure suggest that by building it, many Palestinian towns and lands fall on the Israeli side rather than following the internationally recognised 1967 border.
Israel refers to the wall as a “security fence” that is needed to stop the resistance attacks inside the Jewish state. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his cabinet in March the barrier was “another means to assist in the war against terror and greatly assist in stopping illegal aliens”.
Besides concerns that Israel is trying to annex more Arab territory, Palestinians complain the barrier is already disrupting life on the West Bank. Many Palestinian farmers have been cut off from their fields and orchards, which now fall on the wrong side of the structure. “It is forcing people to migrate from their lands,” explained Radi.
The obvious example is Qalqilya. “Statistics from the Qalqilya municipality show that around 14,000 people have already left as they could not sustain their livelihood because of separation from their lands,” said Radi.
No pan-Arab participation
Organisers are expecting “everybody” from all walks of life to participate.
“Unfortunately no Arab county will take part “
“It is not something that concerns one party. It (the wall) will complicate the life of everyone here,” explained Radi. For organisers, the expected intervention of the Israeli army will not put them off. “We will go ahead with this event since it is our human right to protest against this illegal action,”
A total of 62 anti-apartheid wall campaigns are scheduled to take place across the globe on the same day in Latin America, the United States and Europe.
But the Arab world is failing to show similar support.
“Unfortunately no Arab county will take part,” said the organiser. “We contacted them, gave them information but there was no response.” “This could be due to lack of awareness, lack of interest or even fear of their authorities,” he suggested.