Ayed’s 15-year-old daughter was the first to succeed in getting past the Israeli border police and stopping a bulldozer by courageously jumping in front of it. Her fearlessness galvanizes the entire village and affirms the importance of women in the movement. The demonstrations in Budrus marked the first time that Iltezam, like most of the village’s youth, met Israelis who were not soldiers or settlers. She says, “I visited many times my father in prison and all the Israelis that I met were very, very bad, but now I know that not all Israelis are the same. Some of them want to live together in peace.” Read Just Vision's in-depth interview with Iltezam.
A leader of the movement in Budrus, Ayed organized the first “Popular Committee Against the Wall” in the West Bank by uniting all local Palestinian political factions, including Hamas and Fatah, and encouraging hundreds of Israelis to cross into the Occupied Palestinian Territories and demonstrate in support of his village. When challenged by his teenage daughter, he welcomed the launch of a women’s contingent that quickly moved to the front lines. Ayed chose nonviolence “because it is in the best interest of the Palestinian people to follow this path.” Read Just Vision's in-depth interview with Ayed.
Israeli mathematician who joined the demonstrations in Budrus because of his belief that direct action was missing in the Israeli peace movement at the time. “When we got about 200 meters from the soldiers, and they were armed… I was sure we were going to die. But there were others around me who weren’t even cowering. And gradually I got over my fear and got stronger from their strength and determination.” Read Just Vision's in-depth interview with Kobi.
A Hamas member who works with Ayed to mobilize the people of Budrus, Ahmed talks about nonviolence as a strategic tool, best suited to achieve the village’s aims. He expresses surprise at the Israeli civilians who come to support the demonstrations by putting their bodies on the line and confronting other Israelis serving in the military: “We had already heard that there were some Israelis who wanted peace with the Palestinians. But these demonstrations exceeded expectations. . . . In these marches I saw these Israeli voices in real life; it wasn’t just something I heard about.”
Yasmine is sent to Budrus as a squad commander in the border police and is faced with the overwhelming number of women participating in these demonstrations. She is committed to fulfilling the expectations to halt the demonstrations. Over the course of the demonstrations she develops a complex relationship with the women in the village who call her by name in their chants. She says, “Even if the women were beaten or shot, they had no problem with it. They went to all lengths to ensure their land would remain theirs.”
A spokesperson for the Israeli army, Doron does not believe nonviolent demonstrations can change the route of the Separation Barrier since he believes its goal to provide security to Israel “trumps everything.” For him, the use of Palestinian property to build the Separation Barrier “is extremely unfortunate to the lives of the Palestinian people, however is less unfortunate than the death of an Israeli civilian.”