Starving the Residents of Barta’a ash Sharqiyya into a Prison
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Starving the Residents of Barta’a ash Sharqiyya into a Prison

The approaching Id, the feast at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a time that should be of celebration for residents in Barta’a ash Sharqiyya is already fated to be bleak with the continual Israeli measures against Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip; now its unsure that residents in Barta’a will even be able to have sufficient food as the Occupation military is forbidding the villagers to bring in food into the community which is imprisoned between the Apartheid Wall and the Green Line. Furthermore, unemployment in the village is escalating as the Wall’s closing-off of Barta’a has brought the demise of the village market, which was once shared with residents throughout the Jenin district as well as Barta’a al Garbiyya—the divided western half of the village over the Green Line.

There are some 4,500 people who live in Barta’a ash Sharqiyya; the community has taken this name since the Occupation of 1948 when Barta’a was separated into two, Barta’a al Gharbiyya inside the Green Line and Barta’a ash Sharqiyya inside the West Bank. However, both “sides” continued to subsist as one through their family, social, and economic ties. Israeli measures after the Occupation in 1967 have further drawn the communities apart and the Apartheid Wall is a finalization of their total separation.

When the Occupation military began building the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank, Barta’a ash Sharqiyya began to suffer from isolation as the Wall separated it from the Jenin district and entire West Bank. In October 2003, the Occupation military order that declared areas west of the Wall to be within a “seam zone”, or closed military area, rendered the area inaccessible to all, even those living there, unless they were granted permits from the Occupation “Civil Administration”. The people in Barta’a refused to apply for permits to live in their own village, reasserting that these Israeli measurements were aimed at Judaizing their village and annexing their property.

The Occupation military’s response was the consecutive closure of the village for 15 days, the tyrannical pressure and closure imposed on the people in Barta’a forced them to apply for the permits—it was the only option for even a remote opportunity to leave and reenter their community. However, expectedly the military continues to inflict harsh measures against the people. The so-called access gates along the Wall are frequently closed or inconsistently open with narrow time slots.

***image5***Teachers, students, and laborers are unable to reach their destinations in Jenin and merchants from the West Bank are unable to access their markets inside Barta’a. There are some 150 women in Barta’a who work in the sewing factory, but with the community’s closure from the Wall are not allowed to return to their homes in the rest of West Bank. Some have been able to rent houses since they are forced to remain in Barta’a, but the rest are forced to sleep in the factory.

Israel’s ghettoization of Barta’a only continues as residents who are traveling in and out of the village face incredible difficulty bringing in food and goods to their families. Israeli soldiers are declaring that food cannot be brought in unless it is purchased and imported from “Israeli companies”. This applies not only to larger shipping but to individuals as well—in one case soldiers confiscated 2 kg of fish from a man carrying 3 kg to his family. Another resident was entering with Kata’ef, a sweet during the month of Ramadan, and the Israeli soldiers only permitted him to take what they deemed to be sufficient for his family.

Read about the Israeli Military Order from Oct 2nd declaring areas between the Wall and the Green Line a “seam zone”.