The Latest From Palestine: Community Voices

***image2***In September 2002, when the farmers in Jayyus found some hand written papers affixed onto their trees, they thought that these must be something that belongs somewhere else. Then, a few weeks later, they started to see bulldozers come to cut down their olive trees and destroy the land. A few months after that, the Wall started to be erected. One year later, they found that they could only get access to their land through a military gate, and only with conditional permits.

***image2***Last Friday I went to visit my family land behind the Wall, and to pick some olives for eating. During the way I had to wait for the gate to open, then wait to be checked and to go ahead. Everything after one year of building the Wall becomes a routine, but nothing is normal. More than 15,000 trees died behind the Wall in this area. More than 200 farmers lost their land and work. The amount of production reduced to the half in the past year. The time to reach land increased at least three times, and similarly for the distances. Which of these results looks normal?

***image2***Mohamed Lahrub, 70 years of age, from the village of Deir Samit, works in agricultural and farming, and says:




***image2***My name is Rasmi Sweity from the village of Beit Awa, the wage earner for a family of 10 with 8 children, as well as for my mother and father.



This Apartheid Wall which is being built by the Occupation steels land and property, and has taken all of my lands and leaves me nothing, not for my brothers nor for my family.



This is the land that we live off of, our main source of income and we do not have another source. Where do we go? They expelled us one time (1948), and a second time (1967), and this is the third, and where do we go..








Mahmoud Hamamreh is from Husan village located in Bethlehem District. If the Wall is completed in this area, Husan will be completely encircled in a ghetto with Nahhalin and Battir villages. The Apartheid Wall runs directly into Mahmoud's house and continues on the other side, in a way, making his house a part of the Wall.



Mahmoud says:



***image2***My name is Mahmoud Ahmad Mohammed Hamamreh, I am from Husan village, my home is located in the south part of the village opposite Nahhalin village.








***image2***I worked as a nurse for some time in Jerusalem City. My work was good, but the road was too difficult, in many times the Occupation Forces would force me to go back and would not let me pass to my work. Most of the time I would arrive late to my work, and I had to walk back home because the Occupation Forces prohibit taxi drivers with Jerusalem plates to transport people from the West Bank. My boss at work tried to help me obtain a permit to enter Jerusalem, but the Occupation Administration claimed that I must be twenty-four to have a permit.

Beit Hanina is located to the north of Jerusalem City. The original lands of the village are located to the northwest of Jerusalem, with lands extending to Qalandiya in the north, Hizma and Ram to the east, Shufat to the south, and Lifta and Nabi Semuel to the west. In 1980, Occupation Forces annexed Jerusalem and drew the Occupation's municipal borders for the city; Beit Hanina, as well many other cities in and around Jerusalem, was divided into two parts where one is considered to be in the West bank and the other within the municipal borders of Occupied Jerusalem.


One of the families to be isolated by the Wall from the city of Bethlehem has been living in their old house for more than 40 years, renting it and its surrounding lands; the family has been working in agriculture and animal husbandry for their entire time. According to Ottoman lands law, which are still used by Occupation Forces, after a person works in a land for a certain period of time, that person becomes its owner. This means that the Jado family is now legally entitled to the land since they have been working on it for over 40 years.



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The Following is the Community Voice of Abu Shaher, the owner of a furniture store on the Ramallah-Jerusalem road in Ar Ram.



***image1***If they build the Wall, then they are destroying 90% of the street (the commercial life on the side of the street). As a furniture store owner, I will loose my clients who won’t be able to reach me, except by making huge efforts; the client will have to pass from the Qalandiya checkpoint and then go around to enter Ar Ram - this is of course if they allow Palestinians from Jerusalem to enter this area at all.






My name is Khalid Al-Salfiti. Originally from Salfit, I have been living in Jerusalem since I was 12, when I was orphaned. I came to Jerusalem to find work, and at the time, in the year 1962, the city was bustling. When I grew older, an acquaintance who knew me well gave me money to buy a shop in Jerusalem -the Old City- and until today this shop is my work and my income. It has allowed me to care for my family and to buy a home.

Omar Said -Abu Mohammad- is a farmer from Qalqiliya, and a father of five. Omar's story is an example of how farmers in communities that have their lands isolated behind the Wall suffer to reach their lands.



Omar owns eight dunums of agricultural land to the north of Qalqiliya city, the land is mainly planted with olive trees, and is the family’s main source of income.






Omar Said -Abu Mohammad- is a farmer from Qalqiliya, and a father of five. Omar's story is an example of how farmers in communities that have their lands isolated behind the Wall suffer to reach their lands.



Omar owns eight dunums of agricultural land to the north of Qalqiliya city, the land is mainly planted with olive trees, and is the family’s main source of income.






***image1***Walaja is located south west of Jerusalem. The village was Occupied in October 1948, but Palestinian and Egyptian guerillas fought off the Israeli battalions and successfully defended their village. Several times they were able to force the Occupation troops to withdraw, but in the end the village was Occupied. (Al Khalidi, Wallid 1992: All That Remains). The village was then destroyed, and Aminadav settlement was built on its lands along with an Israeli park.




***image1***Walaja is located south west of Jerusalem. The village was Occupied in October 1948, but Palestinian and Egyptian guerillas fought off the Israeli battalions and successfully defended their village. Several times they were able to force the Occupation troops to withdraw, but in the end the village was Occupied. (Al Khalidi, Wallid 1992: All That Remains). The village was then destroyed, and Aminadav settlement was built on its lands along with an Israeli park.




Al Bandak Stone, one of the oldest factories in Palestine, established in 1967, has been, like all Palestinian economic establishments, routinely targeted by Occupation forces in a continuing attempt to close down and destroy the factory. Al Bandak Stone has faced numerous assaults by Occupation forces over the last years, the most severe occurring during the invasion of Bethlehem in 2002. While the Occupation forces bombarded the nearby Aida Refugee Camp, they also targeted the factory destroying the ceiling and paralyzing one whole section of the facility.

Al Bandak Stone, one of the oldest factories in Palestine, established in 1967, has been, like all Palestinian economic establishments, routinely targeted by Occupation forces in a continuing attempt to close down and destroy the factory. Al Bandak Stone has faced numerous assaults by Occupation forces over the last years, the most severe occurring during the invasion of Bethlehem in 2002. While the Occupation forces bombarded the nearby Aida Refugee Camp, they also targeted the factory destroying the ceiling and paralyzing one whole section of the facility.

We met Ziad in the street where he was trying to decide how to best place the used “caravan” he’d bought on a piece of land by the side of the street. He planned to move all of his merchandise from the shop to the caravan because he could no longer afford to pay rent for the shop. Ziad says:




We met Ziad in the street where he was trying to decide how to best place the used “caravan” he’d bought on a piece of land by the side of the street. He planned to move all of his merchandise from the shop to the caravan because he could no longer afford to pay rent for the shop. Ziad says:




***image1***My land is located in an area were many peoples lands where confiscated in 1993. During that year I was in prison, and when I was released in 1994 I gave all my time to protect my land from any further attempts to confiscate more. The Occupation forces tried different ways to prevent us from reaching our lands, they would shoot at us while we were heading to the land, or while working in it. Nevertheless we resisted and continued to go to our lands and plant our fields.




***image1***My land is located in an area were many peoples lands where confiscated in 1993. During that year I was in prison, and when I was released in 1994 I gave all my time to protect my land from any further attempts to confiscate more. The Occupation forces tried different ways to prevent us from reaching our lands, they would shoot at us while we were heading to the land, or while working in it. Nevertheless we resisted and continued to go to our lands and plant our fields.




***image1***My land is located in an area were many peoples lands where confiscated in 1993. During that year I was in prison, and when I was released in 1994 I gave all my time to protect my land from any further attempts to confiscate more. The Occupation forces tried different ways to prevent us from reaching our lands, they would shoot at us while we were heading to the land, or while working in it. Nevertheless we resisted and continued to go to our lands and plant our fields.




***image1***We came to our lands on Sunday and Monday (March 7/8), and then I could not come again for two days as I was sick. We were a group of old women, but the minute we arrived to the lands and the soldiers saw us they stood in one line and they would not let us pass.

***image1***We came to our lands on Sunday and Monday (March 7/8), and then I could not come again for two days as I was sick. We were a group of old women, but the minute we arrived to the lands and the soldiers saw us they stood in one line and they would not let us pass.

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