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Tuesday report Beit Surik: demonstrators under fire - 50 trees uprooted.

Press release Tue, 24 Feb 2004:  50 olive trees uprooted at Beit Souriq,
demonstrators under fire, ongoing resistance

Today, Israeli authorities started to destroy olive groves in Beit Surik to
expand the Wall in the N.W. region of Jerusalem: bulldozers uprooted
trees under protection of IDF and Border Police. Villagers, ISM
Internationals and Israelis demonstrated on the planned Wall path. Troops
fired tear gas, sound grenades and rubber bullets -- at least 10
were wounded, including a child seriously injured in the chest by rubber-
coated steel bullet. Police detained two Palestinians and an Israeli.
Tens of Palestinians and 7 ISM members sat in front of bulldozers to stop
them uprooting more trees, surrounded by troops who fired tear gas at
them. A group of village youth then tried to ward off the two bulldozers by
throwing stones at them. Later, bulldozers and soldiers retreated out of
sight but tear gas was still fired at demonstrators.

Palestinians farmers expect the bulldozers to return tomorrowand do not
intend to leave their lands, but insist the demonstration must be non-
violent with no stone-throwing. ISM volunteers are in the village
overnight to support the farmers' struggle. Palestinians from neighboring
villages and Israeli activists will join inhabitants early tomorrow. Last
Friday, 60 Israelis marched to Beit Surik's anti-Wall demonstration from
nearby Mevasseret Zion.

Beit Surik (4,000 residents) is a small village N.W. of Jerusalem, on the
Green Line. In the '80s Israel seized 1,500 dunums of its land, for
settlements. In 2003, another 500 dunums near Har Adar settlement was
seized plus another 700 dunums north of Beit Surik; all such lands belong
to villagers.

These villages have been informed Israel is seizing 350 dunums for Wall
construction, spelling disaster: up to 6,000 dunums more will be lost on the
wrong side of the Wall, including eight vital wellssupplying all local
villages in summer. Even the local garbage dump will be expropriated.
Roads have already been blocked off, limiting freedom of movement or
trade, leading to rising unemployment. The Wall's route means all local
villages: Biddu, Beit Idesh, Beit Iqsa, Nabi Samuel, Kubeiba, Beit Anan,
Qataana, Beit Dukku and Khirbet Um El Lahem will be cut off from each
other -- the whole area an enclave, hemmed in at the north by "settler-
only" Road 443.

Villagers say: "We are helpless villagers, eager only to earn our living
live in dignity on the lands our forefathers carefully nurtured. Dare anyone
call this wall a "Security Wall"!! It is nothing else but the final stage in
complete annexation of our land."
For more information, please call:

Mohamed Qundiel: 050 494 083 // Tarek Al Sheikh : 067 544 919
ISM Media Office: 02-277 4602 / Neal : 066 346 165 / Max : 053 471 226

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