Palestinians protest Israeli separation wall in occupied West Bank
Israeli forces have fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of Palestinians protesting against a separation barrier set up by the Tel Aviv regime in the occupied West Bank.
On Sunday, Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters at some 500 residents of the town of Beit Jala in the south-central Bethlehem Governorate, who had gathered to protest against a barbed wire fence erected by Israeli forces.
Tens of Palestinians suffered from gas inhalation during the clash.
The mayor of Beit Jala, Nicola Khamis, said the demonstrators had gathered to “tell the whole world that we have the right to object and defend our land.”
There has been heavy opposition to the construction of the wall, which aims to separate the mostly Christian-populated Beit Jala and the Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem. It will also separate the Cremisan monastery from its sister convent and school.
Last week, Israeli forces uprooted dozens of olive trees of Palestinians and leveled land belonging to a number of families in Beit Jala’s Bir Onah area as part of its plans to resume the construction of the wall, which is also close to the illegal Israeli Har Gilo settlement.
The recent move came after the Israeli High Court in July reversed a previous decision to halt work on the wall.
When complete, 85 percent of the wall will have been built inside the West Bank. The wall will also annex around 13 percent of the total area of the West Bank.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice and the United Nations General Assembly decided that the construction of the wall, which had begun two years earlier, was illegal and demanded that it be dismantled.