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Israeli Army Threatens Journalists Covering EU Visit to al-Walajeh

by Monjed Jadou

Israeli soldiers threatened to assault an al-Arabiyacameraman in the southern West Bank village of al-Walajeh on Friday as hecovered a visit by 11 EU dignitaries.

The Israeli army did not act on the threats, however, andallowed journalists into a dredging site near the Cremisan Monastery inal-Walajeh, where Israel plans to erect the wall. The EU delegation, invited byOxfam International, was accompanied by PA spokesman Ghassan al-Khatib,al-Walajeh mayor Saleh Khalifeh, and Shireen Araj and Mahmoud Zawahiri, membersof the local popular committees.

Image Araj said in a preliminary speech to the dignitaries that ifthe wall were to be built at all, it would have to be along the 1967 boundariesand that the actions of the Israeli army in al-Walajeh, which falls on thePalestinian side of those lines, constitutes a land grab. She asked thedelegation to pressure the Israelis to stop dredging and building the wall.

An Oxfam representative told PNN that Oxfam has beenorganizing European field visits to al-Walajeh and other Palestinian villagesendangered by the wall for the past few years.

Mohammed al-Atrash, a 65-year-old Palestinian fromal-Walajeh, told PNN that Israelis dredged up 40 dunums of olive trees in orderto build the wall (a dunum is about a quarter of an acre), and that he hopedthe EU visit and others like it would persuade Israel to stop.

The delegation also visited the Badawi olive tree inal-Walajeh, which is considered to be the oldest in Palestine at 5,000 yearsold.

PNN - Palestine News Network

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