Al Masara is a village south of Bethlehem. Al Masara is surrounded by the Gush Etzion settlements and the route of the wall is projected to be built at the end of this year close to the village, annexing part of its land.
Today’s demonstration was in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner, Mahmoud Sarsak. The demonstration commenced at 1pm from the middle of the village and the people, Palestinians and internationals, began walking towards the entrance to the village. Many children also attended, waving Palestinian flags and beating drums.
The soldiers were already waiting in formation, blocking the road and confronted the demonstrators with guns and shields. The people attempted to peacefully walk through the soldiers to access the road but they would not let them pass. As the people tried to walk around the soldiers they continued to prevent them from passing. Some demonstrators tried to outrun the soldiers to reach the road but they chased after them and again remained in formation to prevent access.
Finally the demonstrators attempted to take another route however the soldiers again made it impossible to continue. This resulted in a standoff at the entrance to the village with the soldiers lined up with their guns and shields facing the peaceful demonstrators. There were many Palestinians, internationals and small children waving flags, playing drums and chanting in solidarity against the occupation.
While the soldiers tried to intimidate the people with cameras and filming, some demonstrators tried to question the soldiers as to why they were making obstacle for the demonstrators. One American soldier responded with ‘because it’s what is right.’ Several settlers passing in their cars also stopped to observe and silently support the soldiers.
After several speeches explaining the situation of Al Masara and calling for peace to be made, more tanks arrived and the people brought the demonstration to a close and returned to the village.