Palestinian youth have dug a hole in Israel’s separation wall with the Palestinian territories, as a symbolic gesture to mark 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Armed with hammers, a group of Palestinian activists on Saturday created a cavity in the wall that crosses through the West Bank village of Bir Nabala, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, braving tight Israeli security measures.
“It doesn’t matter how high the barriers will be, they will fall. Like the Berlin Wall fell – The Palestinian wall will fall,” the Palestinian activists who organised the event wrote in a statement according to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency.
The collapse of the Berlin Wall a quarter century ago is a key event in the breakdown of communism and the preface to Germany’s reunification in 1990.
During its 28-year existence, the Wall served as a symbol for communist oppression.
Palestinians refer to the current wall separating the West Bank from Israel as the “apartheid wall”.
Israel began work on the sprawling barrier in 2002 and has defended its construction as a crucial protective measure, pointing to a drop in attacks inside Israel as a proof of its success.
But the Palestinians say the wall is a land grab. Large tracts of Palestinian land have been confiscated by the Israeli government to build it. When complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the West Bank.
The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) said that the construction of the wall caused “unnecessary suffering” to the Palestinian people. It “cut social ties and isolated villages from their farmland and citizens from their livelihoods,” the organisation said.
‘Intifada of Jerusalem’
The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that “the construction of the wall, and its associated regime, are contrary to international law”. The International Committee of the Red Cross stated that the Israeli barrier “causes serious humanitarian and legal problems” and goes “far beyond what is permissible for an occupying power”.
Al Jazeera’s correspondent Tamer Meshal said Saturday’s act was a symbolic gesture on the part of small group of activists as opposed to an orgnised campaign.
He said activists made a similar attempt last year to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Palestinian activists, in footage filmed by the Palestinian TV, said that the aim of their act was to stress that Israel’s construction of the wall will not prevent Palestinians from reaching Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa mosque, one of the Islam’s holiest sites.
They called upon people to be ready to take part in the “Intifada (uprising) of Jerusalem”, which they said would be “the final, fateful intifada to liberate Palestine”.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967 as part of its capital in a move never recognised internationally, while Palestinians want it to be the capital of a future state.
Tension has been running high in the occupied East Jerusalem following weeks of clashes around the compound housing al-Aqsa mosque. The unrest was triggered by the attempts of hardline Jews to storm into the Muslim-run sacred site.
Since Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, Jewish worshippers have been allowed to visit – but not pray – at the site.
The Israeli police and Palestinian protesters have clashed on Sunday again around the Israeli Arab town of Kafr Kana, a day after the Israeli police shot dead a Palesitian young man from the same village.