Is it for real? Qaddum
As you know, every Friday after worship residents of the Palestinian village of Qaddum participate in a demonstration demanding the opening of the road from the village that connects with highway 55 to Nablus. The road was closed years ago at the demand of settlers from Kedumim, when construction of the settlement moved into high gear. The closure lengthens the villagers’ trip to Nablus by about 14 km (according to Abu Sakar, they once paid NIS 3 for the bus trip and now it costs NIS 25 to reach Nablus).
Every Friday after prayers men and children go to the main road and walk east with banners to the roadblock. The demonstrations have been underway for more than seven years, and cost the village dearly: soldiers enter by day and in the middle of the night, invade homes, fire weapons inside and outside the homes; there’s fear, injuries, arrests of young people including minors
The demonstrations include stone-throwing by young people (14 and older) using slings, while the adults support them silently. They believe, and they say international law states, that stone throwing doesn’t constitute terrorism, nor is the burning of tires, which is also part of the demonstration. The father of one of the children says that at a distance of 200 meters they can’t hit anyone anyway.
As part of what has become a routine, soldiers station themselves on the rooftops of houses on both sides of the road, while photographers (from Palestinian media and others) station themselves at strategic points by the roadside. The adult men in the rear, the youths at the ready. When the first smoke or gas grenade is thrown stones fly, and immediately they retreat from the smoke and fumes, then return and again retreat until everyone has had enough. It’s a kind of macho game, each side playing the role assigned to it.
In the past two weeks, after negotiations between the army and the Palestinian DCL and the villages with respect to opening the road, it was agreed that if the demonstration would be non-violent the two sides would begin talking. During those two weeks, the soldiers were absent. The demonstrations continued, and since they weren’t interfered with the demonstrators marched to the edge of the village, from where the nearest neighborhoods of Kedumim are visible, and burned tires. On a good day, the wind blew the smoke east (toward the settlement’s houses). The demonstrators shouted slogans and returned home.