Fayyad to Israel: Give Palestinians freedom or right to vote

Published today (updated) 24/06/2011 20:01

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told protesters in Bil’in on Friday that Israel should either give Palestinians freedom or the right to vote.

Attending the weekly anti-wall rally in the village, Fayyad demanded either freedom or civil rights and said Israel was no longer able to defend its illegal occupation of Palestinian land, which had become an “ethical burden.”

The Ramallah prime minister praised the non-violent resistance movement.

“The results of popular resistance may be slow, but they are guaranteed and the whole world is with us.”

Changing the route of the wall in Bil’in was the start of the decline of the occupation, which would eventually collapse, Fayyad added.

On Wednesday Israeli troops began dismantling part of the separation barrier around Bil’in, four years after Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that it significantly impinged on the property rights of Palestinian landowners.

The Israeli military ignored the 2007 ruling and continued to protect the original route, violently shutting down weekly protests against the barrier.

In 2009, Israeli forces shot Bassem Abu Rahmah in the chest with a high-velocity tear-gas canister, killing him instantly. In January, his sister Jawaher Abu Rahmah died after inhaling tear gas at a demonstration in the village.

The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said Wednesday that the new path of the wall still confiscated 435 acres of village land from its residents.

The committee said around 500 protesters joined Friday’s demonstration against the wall.

Israeli forces fired tear-gas, chemical water and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators, the committee added.

The Israeli army said soldiers responded to “200 rioters” with “riot dispersal means.”

In a non-binding 2004 judgment, the International Court of Justice called for the dismantling of all parts of the wall built on occupied territory.

When the 709-kilometer barrier is complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the occupied West Bank, cutting at times as much as 22 kilometers into Palestinian land.

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