"The story of the village of wallaje is a microcosm of the Palestinian tragedy –
from its first destruction in the 1948 war, through its partial annexation in 1967 to its current struggle with the seperation fence which is planned to surround it completely"
In 1987 the municipality of Jerusalem illegally extended its borders to include part of Wallaje lands without extending citizenship or residency rights to any of the inhabitants.
Therefore the residents of the village are, under Israeli law, technically in Jerusalem illegally and are subject to arrest. Building permits are not issued and any homes built by the villagers on their own land are subject to demolition
Read more on #Alwallaje annexation here
The concrete walls around the village,
the nearby settlement makes the Nakba present as an on-going historic tragedy,
and commemorating it in this location is vital part of the resistance, not dwelling on the past.
Maybe this is what drew so many people, 10 packed buses, all waving Palestine's flags through the window
to Al Wallaje on this day.
The protest met armed military vehicles, lots of soldiers, and clouds of tear gas.
Did the soldiers succeeded to intimidate the protesters? I think not.
The protesters have had their own means of intimidation,
such as the key that holds the promise that the refugees will return,
the key that scares our elected prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu so much he dedicated a speech to it last year.
The protesters climbed the ruins of a house that was probably destroyed during the Nakba, held the flags, the keys, chanting and singing
I was delighted to see Hassan,
the popular struggle leader addressing both protesters
and soldiers ,enjoyed a warm hospitality from the villagers ,
as if normalization wasn't an issue at all,
( perhaps it really isn't once you accept the Palestinian plight for justice.)
At some moments,
despite the massive presence of army vehicles and troops,
this almost felt like a high school trip.
People were singing,
The youth enjoyed paddling in the water after walking under the scorching sun,
crossing the thickly, rocky roads down the hill.
I would like to believe that the crowd's joy comes from not losing hope on a resolution to the conflict that will grant the refugees a right to return to their lands & restore their lands, their property.
Or maybe that joy is an an act of protest to itself,
to show the occupiers that the spirit of those who struggle cannot be broken by oppression.
In the last few weeks I have seen so much sorrow-the signs held by Dahamsh people , unrecognized village in the center of Israel, I have seen the beating of my friends in front of Ramleh prisons, the photo of martyred Mustafa Tamimi, the prisoners' mothers holding portraits of their sons.
The spirit & sights I absorbed in this village, who is so segregated behind walls, yet not giving in to despair, in such an event of commemoration a tragedy, a disaster, surprisingly refresh me as the water of Al-Haniyeh spring do.
Edition: Now that I have learnt that the annexation wall planned route is about to deny the villagers access to the spring I visited & the hill slopes the march becomes even more significant to me. Now that I learnt some more on the village's destruction during the Nakba war, I think I understand better what the occupation of the house's ruins mean.