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Twenty years after Berlin, Palestinians crack Israel's wall

Nov. 6, 2009 9:22 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 9, 2009 5:24 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Marking the 20th anniversary since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Palestinians tore down a section of Israel's wall in the West Bank village of Ni'lin on Friday.

During a weekly protest against the barrier, which cuts through the Ramallah-area village's center and isolates residents from 60 percent of their farmland, some 300 demonstrators methodically dismantled a concrete section before Israeli forces opened fire.

"When one concrete part started to come down partially, the Israeli army arrived and started shooting large amounts of tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and even live ammunition," said organizer Ahmad Mesleh. "Dozens of soldiers came through the gate and are currently following the demonstration into the village."

Mesleh said protesters first gathered in front of Ni'lin's health clinic, where they prepped supplies and marched toward the wall. They burned tires and removed an eight-meter concrete slab with a hydraulic car-jack.

"Twenty years ago, no one imagined that the monstrosity that divided Berlin would ever be taken down, but it took only two days to do it," participant Muhib Hawaja told the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

"Today we proved that we too can pull it off, right here and right now. That is our land beyond the barrier, and we have no intention of ceding it. We will triumph because justice is on our side," he added.

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