the legality of the Wall started in The Hague, thousands of
Palestinians and Internationals throughout Occupied Palestine took on
the streets to protest the construction of the Wall of Apartheid. The
International Solidarity Movement joined massive popular protests to
support the active resistance of the Palestinians against this
violation of basic human rights, and their ongoing fight for freedom,
justice and peace.
In every regions, demonstrations endured severe attacks by the Israeli
army. Tear gas and rubber bullets and in some places live ammunitions
were fired at the crowd, wounding tens of Palestinians. The IOF
attempted to prevent these demonstrations from taking place by denying
entry in the West Bank, making it difficult for Israeli peace
activists to join the protests.
Below is the press release from the Palestinian grassroots
Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.
For photos from the demonstrations, please see: http://www.palsolidarity.org
For more information call:
ISM Media Office: +972 2277 4602
PENGON/Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign - Dutch coalition "Stop the Wall"
February, 23, 2004, Palestine/The Hague (Netherlands) - The first day
Hearings at the international Court of Justice has seen international
and great media attention.
In the Palestinian occupied territories, demonstrations took place in
all major cities following a call by the anti-apartheid wall campaign.
All political parties, diverse institutions and local groups
participated in the demonstrations. In Ramallah, a 4000 strong
demonstration filled the Manara square. Speakers from the National and
Islamic forces addressed the protestors calling for a united
resistance against the Apartheid wall which should culminate in the
demolition of the wall and an end to Israeli occupation.
In Tulkarem, occupation forces blocked all roads to Tulkarem
preventing people to reach the demonstration. However, 3000 people
were able to participate. Hundreds of soldiers began shooting bullets
and tear gas as the demonstrators approached the wall.
In Salfit, Abu Dis/Ezaryeh (Jerusalem) and A-Ram/Dahiat Al Barid
(Jerusalem), a 1000 demonstrators gathered in each location. In Abu
Dis, Palestinian youth clashed with heavily armed Israeli forces.
Among the slogans shouted by the protestors was: the wall +
checkpoints = expulsion but Jerusalem is Arab, Muslim and Christian.
In Jenin, many of the communities were bloackaded by the military from
joining the demonstration. The demonstration ended in the village of
Mutilla, where the
Wall is currently being built. Occupation soldiers surrounded the
shot bullets and tear gas at the people.
In both Jenin and Tulkarem, no media was allowed, despite media
attempts to reach
In Bethlehem, a large demonstration lead by university students and
political parties marched to Rachel's Tomb which is currently occupied
by Israeli military.
In Qalqiliya, thousands of people participated. Confrontations took
place between the demonstrators and the occupation forces who shot
tear gas to prevent demonstrators from reaching the Wall. In Baqa
Sharqiya, the large military presence stopped any demonstrations.
There were also protests in a number of Palestinian villages on the
other side of the green line and in Gaza.
In The Hague at the entrance of the Court, a few hundred supporters of
the Apartheid wall gathered in the morning with a blown-up bus brought
from Jerusalem to distract attention from the gross violations of
human rights and international law committed by Israeli authorities.
The anti-wall demonstrators were only allowed to protest in the late
afternoon by the police. However, with a participation of more than
one thousand, it was one of the biggest pro-Palestine demonstrations
that the Netherlands have seen lately. Dutch demonstrators were
accompanied by delegations from Belgium, France, Switzerland, Denmark,
Sweden, Norway, UK, Ireland, Italy and Germany. The demonstration
started with testimonies by Palestinian representatives and human
rights activists at "Het Plein" in The Hague. Jamal Juma', coordinator
of the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, declared: "We at the
Palestine Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign call on the international
community to protect human rights laws and the freedom of all people.
We should not let colonial mentality or the superpowers to govern our
future and bring us back to the colonial times of the previous
centuries. We need to act now to prevent a situation in the future
where human lives are governed by conflict and conflict alone." Many
others followed, Michel Tarazi, member of the Palestinian Negotiations
Support Unit, asked Israel to participate in the trial at ICJ and
stated that Israeli authorities "know that they cannot defend their
case in front of the Court."
Inside the Court, several lawyers presented their arguments among whom
Mr. Vaughan Lowi, a South African professor at Oxford University
outlined the long history of international conflicts and disputes
deliberated at the International Court of Justice. Mr. Naser
al-Khidwa, permanent observer to the UN for Palestine, reminded the
judges of the imbalance of 1948 UN partition scheme that gave 54% of
Mandate Palestine to only 7% of the population and thereby created a
Jewish state which has continued to implement its expansionist
policies at the expense of Palestinian livelihoods. The construction
of the Apartheid Wall will leave the Palestinians with only 10% of
their original land. He further underlined the dire consequences that
the Wall has on the Palestinian people who are deprived of water
resources and access to education and health care facilities.
The position of the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign has found
support inside the court. The illegality of the Wall on grounds of the
IV Geneva Convention and the Human Rights agreements was repeatedly
underlined by legal experts. They confirmed that the Wall is a war
crime. The representative of Algeria declared that any other position
taken by the Court would state that Palestine is a land without human