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Jews, Arabs march on Israeli checkpoint to demand an end to occupation

Hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians march along a major West Bank highway as part of a non-violent protest against the occupation, settlements and the recent wave of violence.

The anti-occupation protest proceeds along Route 60 in the West Bank, November 27, 2015. (Mustafa Bader/Activestills.org)

The anti-occupation protest proceeds along Route 60 in the West Bank, November 27, 2015. (Mustafa Bader/Activestills.org)

Some 300 Israelis and Palestinians marched on the Israeli army’s “tunnels checkpoint” south of Jerusalem Friday to demonstrate against the occupation, against the ongoing violence, and in support of two states.

The demonstrators gathered on Route 60, the southern West Bank’s main north-south artery that connects Jerusalem, Beit Jala, the Gush Etzion settlements, and Hebron. For an hour, the demonstrators marched north along the side of the road to drums while chanting political slogans. Israeli and Palestinian drivers passing the protest along Route 60 couldn’t miss the long procession and many reacted — either by yelling and curses, or with calls of support.

An Israeli driver makes an obscene gesture toward a joint Palestinian-Israeli demonstration against the occupation and violence, Road 60, West Bank, November 27, 2015. (Mustafa Bader/Activestills.org)

An Israeli driver makes an obscene gesture toward a joint Palestinian-Israeli demonstration against the occupation and violence, Road 60, West Bank, November 27, 2015. (Mustafa Bader/Activestills.org)

The demonstrators called to dismantle the settlements and end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. They also chanted slogans against violence and in support of Jewish-Arab cooperation. Israeli soldiers and police escorted the procession and there were no clashes of any sort.

At the end of the procession the protesters gathered next to the “tunnels checkpoint,” where a few speakers from “Combatants for Peace” gave speeches, noting that it should not be taken for granted that in days like these Jews and Arabs would take to the streets together to call for a non-violent end to the occupation.

“We are living in a difficult period, innocent people are dying every day and it is hard to see an end to these events,” said Meital Lukov, an activist with Combatants for Peace. “The courageous thing to do is to find common ground and to build a future on that basis, and to break the cycle of violence we’re in — to create a new tomorrow.”

Anti-occupation protesters march along the side of Route 60 in the West Bank, November 27, 2015. (Mustafa Bader/Activestills.org)

Anti-occupation protesters march along the side of Route 60 in the West Bank, November 27, 2015. (Mustafa Bader/Activestills.org)

Also speaking at the event, Chairman of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee and former member of Knesset Mohammad Barakeh, noted that there had been two vehicular attacks a couple of hours before the demonstration, one of them on the same road along which the protesters had just marched.

“We don’t want a single drop of blood to be spilt,” Barakeh said, “but he who creates this situation needs to understand that only peace will bring security. The blockade, the checkpoints, the abuse, the settlements — they cause everything bad that is happening here. We stand together and condemn this extremist [Israeli] government, in favor of life, peace, the State of Israel and the independent Palestinian state that will be established.”

The protest was organized by “Combatants for Peace” as part of its new initiative, “standing together,” an attempt to organize various movements and political parties in the name of Jewish-Arab cooperation against violence and the occupation. “Standing together” also organized a large protest in Jerusalem last month, one in Haifa and near the southern Israeli Bedouin city of Rahat, along with various smaller events.

Anti-occupation protesters march along the side of Route 60 in the West Bank, against the backdrop of a massive concrete barrier erected by Israel, November 27, 2015. (Haggai Matar)

Anti-occupation protesters march along the side of Route 60 in the West Bank, against the backdrop of a massive concrete barrier erected by Israel, November 27, 2015. (Haggai Matar)

At the time of publication, the non-violent protest on Friday had been mentioned in only one Hebrew-language media outlet — Ma’ariv.

Like every week, Palestinian protests — with the presence of Israeli and international supporters — against the settlements and the occupation took place in the villages of Bil’in, Ma’asara, Nabi Saleh, Ni’ilin and Qaddum. Protests and clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces also took place outside Israel’s Ofer military prison, at the Qalandiya checkpoint, at the Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem, and in other locations throughout the West Bank and Gaza. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, 82 Palestinians were wounded in the Friday protests, dozens of them by live Israeli gunfire.

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This article was first published in Local Call in Hebrew. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Great news – keep it up, grow and prosper !

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      Good choice for the protest location. The “Gush Etzion bloc” is in fact a fraud, exploiting sentimental attachments to the four original settlements in the area. This fraudulence is emblematic of the chicanery used to extend the majority of the settlements. This element of “the consensus,” the Gush Etzion Bloc Myth, should be challenged up front > > > >

      http://972mag.com/the-fraud-of-gush-etzion-israels-mythological-settlement-bloc/102133/

      Reply to Comment
    3. Gustav

      With his question about Gush Etzion, Benny is trying to create the impression that by keeping it we would be stealing Arab lands. Nothing is further from the truth. Here is a very brief history of Gush Etzion…

      “The core settlements of Gush Etzion before 1948 were Kfar Etzion, Massu’ot Yitzhak, Ein Tzurim and Revadim, built on tracts of land purchased in the early 1920s.[5] From November 29, 1947, Kfar Etzion was under siege and cut off from Jerusalem. On May 13, 1948, when the village surrendered, 127 Jewish inhabitants were massacred by the Arab Legionor local village irregulars or both.The other villages surrendered the next day. The inhabitants were taken prisoner and the homes were plundered and burned.[6]
      The establishment, defense and fall of Gush Etzion have been described as “one of the major episodes of the State of Israel-in-the-making”, playing a significant role in Israeli collective memory.[7] The motivation for resettling the region is not so much ideological, political or security-related as symbolic, linked in the Israeli psyche to the massive loss of life in the Israeli War of Independence.[8]”

      Anyone interested can read more here….

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gush_Etzion

      Reply to Comment
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