Palestinian activists, accompanied by international supporters, demolished an Israeli military roadblock in the Palestinian village of Al Walaja at noon Thursday, dismantling it even before the Israeli military could become aware of the action and arrive on the scene. The first activists to arrive on the scene used a sledge hammer to break a lock on the steel gate blocking the road between Al Walaja and the bordering village of Beit Jala.
Many of the activists participating in the action were attending the Bil’in International Popular Resistance Conference, taking place this week.
The gate had been installed by the Israeli military in the past year to prevent movement between the two Palestinian villages at the point in the road where the Israeli separation wall will eventually be built.
If completed as planned, the wall will encircle most of Al Walaja, cutting off all roads, and making it a virtual prison with entry and exit controlled by Israeli checkpoints.
Once the lock was smashed, activists then used the leverage provided by the newly opened gate to remove the massive concrete block to which it was anchored.
Moving the gate back and forth, they inched the block away from the road, eventually sending the entire apparatus tumbling down the steep hillside.
After a few shouts of celebration, the group quickly fled the scene, leaving the site before a single member of Israeli forces could arrive to interfere. Some participants even escaped by driving out through the now-opened road, passing through Beit Jala land, including the Cremisan monastery, that will be even further divided by the separation wall if it is built as planned.