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Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign

“This is our land!”: Jubara’s Residents Reject Israeli Permit System

In late August 2003, the Israeli occupation forces informed the Red Crescent that there would be “real changes” taking place in Jubara, a small hamlet of 300 residents south of Tulkarem. Such declared changes, then not specified yet predictable, had already begun with the building of the Apartheid Wall and are now escalating as Israel’s expansionist policies are advancing to expel residents from Jubara.



***image5***The Apartheid Wall cuts east of Jubara, isolating it in the de facto annexed area by Israel and rendering it entirely inaccessible to the West Bank. After the Wall’s “completion” by Jubara the Israeli forces installed a gate in the village’s west side and claimed that from there, and only there, residents could reach the neighboring communities of Ar Ras, Kufr Sur, and Kufr Zebad, together known in as Kafryat. Jubara has no schools or health facilities of its own, residents have always depended on reaching Kafryat for such services. An armed checkpoint to Jubara’s north by Tulkarem is the only other entrance and exit for the village. The Wall, checkpoint, and “access gate” have amounted to heightened imprisonment of Jubara’s residents.



The following entries are a few examples of what residents endure and resist at the Wall’s gates:



On Monday September 2nd, the people of Jubara and Ar Ras demonstrated at the gate against its continuous closure. Consistently, farmers from Kafrayt were unable to reach lands which they own in Jubara and students from Jubara could not pass to their schools in Ar Ras and Kufr Zebad. Following the demonstration, Israeli soldiers told Jubara’s village council that they would “open” the gate for an hour each morning and afternoon-- but that only students and teachers would be granted access, and only on foot while being required to comply with “searches” through all of their belongings. The soldiers continued to say that when the olive season began in mid-October, farmers and land owners would be able to reach their groves for the harvest.



The Wall’s gates were sealed shut on September 28th under the pretext of “security reasons” which barred more than 80 students from reaching their schools. The students had been gathering near the gate since 6:30 a.m. but the soldiers refused to permit any passage; the students resisted this and continued to argue for the gate’s opening. The soldiers then declared that lands west of the Wall were a “closed military zone”.



On October 3rd, the gate remained closed, causing students to be absent for the fifth consecutive day. Yet each day, Jubara’s residents had gathered at the gates in an effort to pressure the Israeli forces to allow passage through the gate; the gates remained locked.



Jubara has now been under closure for the sixteenth day—no one is allowed in or out of the village which, considering that all services are only available outside the village, is having stark consequences for the residents. The Israeli closure also comes at the time of the olive harvest’s beginning; people from nearby communities with land in Jubara continue to be denied access to their land and cannot gather their olives while those in Jubara are unable to take their olives out for pressing as they do not have an olive mill.



Since the beginning of the Intifada most of the people working inside the Green Line from Jubara lost their jobs, making agriculture the main economic activity. As with the olive harvest, raising poultry is a vital source of income for many families in the village. However, sustained Israeli closures have made impossible the transport of needs for this, such as bringing feed into or chicks out of the village, which is destroying the entire production.



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On October 11th, residents in Jubara received the latest Israeli military order stating areas west of the Wall were a “closed military zone” and a “seam line”, crafting more grounds on which to further expel people. Under this military order, residents will be required to apply for “permits” from the Occupation “Civil Administration” in order to travel in and out of their village and to prove that they in fact live in Jubara. This order applies to all communities along the Wall’s “first phase” and, as in numerous other communities, residents in Jubara are refusing to comply with the Occupation’s “system”.



Fu’ad Jubara, head of the village council, stated that the Israeli forces have, since they finished working on the Wall in the village, compiled a list of residents which they posted at the checkpoint. Any individual seeking to pass must be on the list; this list excludes all people who live in Jubara but were not born there or who own lands in Jubara but may be staying in another village. This list has recently been used by the Occupation “Civil Administration” to further impose its system of permits. Permits were filled out “for residents” by an Israeli officer and taken to the village in am attempt to force community members to acknowledge the military order.



The permits were then taken to the village council by an officer form the Occupation “Civil Administration” so residents could “pick them up for signing”. Thirty heads of households in Jubara were not “granted” permits for not having been born in the village and seven other individuals were excluded because they had a “political history”. Fu’ad Jubara said these permits would further be subjected to varying conditions and do not acknowledge permanent residency rights as they are to be “renewed” from “time to time” as demanded by the Occupation “Civil Administration”.



Jubara’s residents continue to defy to the Occupation’s system and expulsion permits. The residents’ stance is clear and as Fa’ud Jubara emphasized more support from the Palestinian Authority in decision making regarding their situation. He also stressed that local and international media and organizations have a particular role in exposing and intervening to stop Israel’s imprisonment of their village and policies of expulsion against Palestinians.

























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