I was still abroad when direct actions were first taken. There were a couple of times when gates were opened and the fence was cut in a couple of places. There were rubber bullets and tear gas but the basic assumption was that the army would never shoot live rounds at Israelis. I remember telling this to someone that was worried the morning of December 26, 2003. Someone was worried, I think it was my cousin who was with me and I told her, "Look the worse that's going to happen is that they will arrest some of us and we'll get some tear gas. They won't kill us." It was so hard to imagine that they would shoot live ammunition at us. Even after they started we just didn't believe it. I have a movie I can show you. We hear the shots and we're not running away. The reason is that we couldn't believe that it was live fire, even after we saw the guy being hit, I personally did not believe that it was live fire. Other people with more experience with rubber bullets could tell that it was probably not a rubber bullet. But that was that mindset, that whatever happens, the Israeli army will not shoot Israeli citizens-or Jews, because they've shot Israeli Arabs
plenty of times-they would not shoot Jews with live ammunition. So after that happened the basic assumption for direct action changed and it became a lot harder. There were a couple more attempts, and there still are, it's just that I think the focus has changed. This sort of direct action became a lot harder, and most of the activity turned to supporting demonstrations against the wall.
Around that time [residents of] Budrus, a village west of Ramallah, very close to the Green Line, were demonstrating. Over the course of six months, I think they counted something like close to sixty demonstrations. The planners decided to move the fence to the Green Line almost completely. It deviates from the Green Line at some point, but the significance was that it wasn't a court decision. It was the demonstrations that forced a rethinking of the route. That's quite an achievement because of course it's quite a problem for the Palestinians to depend on the Israeli court. Even when a Supreme Court decision is portrayed as a victory for Palestinians, if you actually look at what has been decided, it's a terrible decision.Just last week the court decision was to dismantle part of the fence around Alfei Menashe. The lawyer and the people of the village consider that a victory, and rightly so. But in the same decision the court declares that the International Court of Justice decision does not apply.
It rejected their ruling, so yes, one part of the fence is going to locally change, but the larger significance is terrible. It's the first time they've ruled on the principal that Israel can build the wall inside Palestine, taking Palestinian land.It goes back to the late '70s when the court decided that you can't confiscate Palestinian land for the purpose of constructing Jewish settlements, but you could do it for security reasons.
Well, it might look like some sort of victory, but it leaves the door wide open for various pretexts, and that's exactly what happened. All the settlements have been built on either one or the other pretext that has been opened by that decision.