The Municipality and residents of Arab Ramadin village issued an appeal this week for international solidarity and support against the intensifying Occupation measures which aim at expelling them from their land. The community, south of Qalqiliya city, is locked into an enclave with the Israeli settlement Alfe Menashe and is being de facto annexed behind the Apartheid Wall. The completion of the Wall and its ghettoization of Arab Ramadin are turning a community of shepherds into exploited workers for Israeli settlement industrial zones as they are unable to sustain their lives.
All residents, from shepherds to students, face the Wallâs imprisonment each day as they are consistently unable to pass through the Wallâs gate. Raising sheep is a main income for the majority of Arab Ramadinâs 40 families, with a total population of 260 people. However, the Wall has effectively separated them from grazing land which supported some 1,500 sheep. Furthermore, residents are unable to bring in fodder for the sheep as the Occupation Military is prohibiting the crossing of vehicles and anyone without a permit. Most families are unable to purchase donkeys or tractors as an âalternativeâ to vehicles for transporting goods or market their products outside the village due to the complete isolation.
Arab Ramadin does not have any schools within the village, 46 students travel to Habla and six high school and two university students study in Qalqiliya city. Habla was, prior to the Apartheid Wall, a 2.5 km walk through mountains for the students. However, the Wallâs path forces them to walk 5 km now where they must also await the opening of one of the Wallâs gates. The gate for students is to open twice daily, but rarely opens on a consistent basis let alone predictable time. The mayor of Arab Ramadin, Hassan Shaour, states that, âIn many cases the students, all of whom are kids, often wait two or three hours before they [Occupation soldiers] open the gate; it has become a challenge for us to either to let them continue to suffer or dismiss them from school”.
Mr. Shaour further discloses the captivity of the village while discussing his daughterâs experience at the gates. âWe live in complete isolation, no one visits us. My daughter, who is married and lives in Hebron, came to visit us and see our family on the second day of the Id [ feast at the end of last November]; they stopped her at the Wallâs checkpoint and didn’t let her in. She called for me to come, and I started to negotiate the soldiers when they asked for a permit for her. Unfortunately, I don’t have the permit even though she was born in Arab Ramadin. Therefore, she could not see my family and was forced to go back to Hebronâ.
The Wallâs ghettoization of Arab Ramadin is slicing away, day by day, at the residentsâ ability to keep living on their land. While the shepherds are unable to market products or tend to their sheep, many are being forced to sell the sheep and seek employment at Alfe Menasheâs industrial zone. As slave labor for the settlement which has stolen their land, the exploitation and humiliation alone can be enough to expel one from their land. The Apartheid Wallâs ghettoization of Arab Ramadin is ensuring this expulsion will take place more quickly as all other options are being crushed by the Occupation.