From the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, June 16th, 2005 (online at Stop The Wall):
Villagers of Marda Continue To Resist Settler Bypass Road
Thirty villagers were injured today during clashes with Occupation Forces in Marda, in the east of Salfit district. Villagers were demonstrating against the theft of their lands by the Apartheid Wall and the Jewish-only bypass road system that together will almost completely encircle the village.
Several hundreds villagers marched to lands in the northwest of Marda, which are being confiscated and uprooted by the Occupation for the route of a new settler bypass road. They were attacked on the way by Occupation Forces who fired tear gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets into the crowds of demonstrators.
A number of villagers were badly injured after being struck on the head by metal tear gas canisters. Occupation Forces fired tear gas towards houses in the village, with one canister entering the home of Mr Waheed Khofaash. His wife, children and elderly father were all taken to hospital suffering from respiratory problems.
The resistance movement in Marda has been intensifying in recent weeks, as Occupation surveyors and Wall path technicians have begun the initial work for the construction of the Wall. At a demonstration in the village last week, Occupation Forces injured dozens of villagers when tear gas was fired into a mosque and a textiles factory. This week, in expectation of the Occupation’s violence, ambulances were on stand by and were able to immediately treat the injured and when necessary take them to hospital. Despite the violence of the Occupation Forces, the villagers of Marda have pledged to remain steadfast to their lands and resist the Occupation’s attempts to expel them.
Marda, a village of around 2,000 people, has so far had 300 dunums of land confiscated and destroyed for the construction of settlement bypass roads. A further 600 dunums are to be stolen by the Apartheid Wall, which together with the road network will turn the village into a ghetto. Originally located on an area of 9,160 dunums, the village had 3,600 dunums confiscated for the construction of the settlement of Ariel, which is located immediately to the south. In total, Marda has lost almost half of its lands to the Occupation�s apartheid infrastructure.
The bypass road is under daily construction to the north of the village. It will provide the Occupation with a corridor of land from Tel Aviv to Jordan, furthering the Zionist project of continual colonization of Palestinian land.
See our last post on land conflicts in the Occupied Territories.