Saturday, December 15, 2018

Kafr Qaddum weekly protest: ‘‘We will fight peacefully until we reach our rights.‘‘


By Ary Gotlib - December 03, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News] [IN PICTURES]
Tags: [protests] [settlements] [Israeli violence] [Kafr Qaddoum]

Since 2011 in the village of Kafr Qaddum, between Qalqiya and Nablus in the West Bank, Palestinians have been protesting every Friday and Saturday against the blockage by Israeli forces of the main road to go to Nablus.  

 
For the protesters, the reason Israel restricts their access to the road is to pursue the expansion of the nearby Kdumim settlement.
 
People also continue to protest against violence by the Israeli army.
 
“For the last eight years, 175 people were arrested and 87 wounded by [live] bullets,” noted Saqir Obiid, the former mayor of the local municipality.
 
“Two weeks ago [Friday November 16], four people were injured by rubber bullets,” Obiid pointed out.
 
 
Saqir Obiid, former mayor of Kafr Qaddum joins the protest every week.
 
The blockade of the main road has many negative repercussions, as pointed out by Obiid.
 
“Before they [Israeli army] blocked off the road, 100 people were living from olive work. Now, there is barely 25 [who can make a living.”
 
From year to year, Israeli authorities are reducing the duration where Palestinians can harvest olive trees which are located in Area C (under Israeli control).
 
“Previous years, they gave us one week, this year it was only three days. We need [at least] 45 days for the harvest,” lamented the former mayor.
 
 
Israeli soldiers on the top of the hill during clashes.
 
Each week, the scenario is almost the same. The Israeli army is posted on top of a hill adjacent to the village and in deserted houses of Kafr Qaddum.
 
From the bottom of it, along the blocked road, the locals express their disapproval. From one side, Palestinian teenagers throw stones with slingshots, from the other, Israeli soldiers respond by firing tear gas canisters and rubber coated bullets.
 
A young person throws stones, a symbol of resistance. 
On November 19, Khaled from Kafr Qaddum was put in jail for three days and only released after his family paid 200 shekels.
 
At the age of 13, Khaled look emboldened. “They took me from my home at three in the morning. In jail, they showed me a photo of a teenager throwing a stone, they asked if it is me. But it was not,” he told Palestine Monitor.
 
“I was not afraid during these three days. I will protest today, I won’t stop !”
 
 
The Israeli state is harshly repressing the Palestinian resistance. Throwing stones can expose you to a 20-year prison sentence. To avoid it, young people hide their faces.
 
During the demonstration, Mohamed El Kadoum introduced himself as the new coordinator of the resistance. Behind his large build and a hidden face where just his eyes are visible, he calmly stated; "Israeli statesmen are thieves, they steal our lands, our road and they put us in jail”.
 
“Before, to go to Nablus it tooks 15 minutes, now it is 40 minutes,” El Kadoum reiterated how the road closure affects the village.
 
"We will fight peacefully until we reach our rights. Maybe I will die but I will not leave this road.”
 
  
For this Saturday, no injuries were listed.

Rayan (name changed) recalls the largely unfavorable balance of power.
"We are with sling shots, they are armed from head to foot. But as long as we have not liberated our village, we have no choice than to carry on."

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