The morning started out with a football match in the southern villages of Bethlehem to protest the building of the Apartheid Wall. Once the game was done, we moved with our vehicles to the village of Artas to stand in support with the farmers of the village who are facing a real catastrophe. According to information obtained by the villagers, the land confiscated will become a dumb for sewage water of the nearby settlement of Efrat.
As soon as we reached the location we were astonished by the number of Israeli soldiers gathered to prevent us from reaching the confiscated land in order to have a sit in with the farmers. The land is located in a valley; Israeli army jeeps and snipers with their faces painted were placed on the top of the hills and between trees to completely surround us. It was as if we were entering an armed battle zone.
Friday prayers were conducted in two locations, the road that leads to the land being confiscated (that had over forty fruit trees uprooted from it the Sunday before) and in the village itself. Once the prayers were concluded the protestors gathered in organized lines and began the march to the confiscated land. We were stopped by dozens of soldiers who had formed an armed wall.
One of the international protestors, George from Greece, was arrested by the Israeli army even though there was absolutely no provocation. In talking to some of the villagers from Artas after the action it was encouraging to see how committed they have become to continue these protests to defend their agricultural land from being not only confiscated and destroyed.
Photos by Muhamad Zboun – PNN – Feel free to use