Nilin – A village struggle for its land

In May 2008, following approval by the Supreme Court, Israel started to build a wall across the land of the village of Nilin in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank. This extension of Israel’s Separation Barrier left 25% of Nilin’s land on the Israeli side of the wall.

In response, the residents of the village decided to begin a non-violent struggle against the wall’s construction. In the last week of May the village began to demonstrate weekly, inviting Israeli and international activists to join them. In an attempt to repress the village’s struggle, Israeli security forces repeatedly used extreme force, including rubber bullets, high velocity projectile tear gas, and live ammunition. Over the next five years the village suffered hundreds of army raids, many arrests and injuries, and the deaths of five residents by army forces.

Although I had been following other West Bank villages in their non-violent struggles, Nilin was the first that I joined from the beginning. From their first month of demonstrations I worked to capture their spirit and strength. In the last five years I have visited many times, building a close relationship with the village and its people.

In this project I try to show this spirit and persistence, even in the face of diminishing hope. After years of violent oppression and the completion of the Separation Barrier across their land, the people of Nilin have not given up on the belief that one day they will get their land back.