Shufa Village Suffers Suffocating Closure
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Shufa Village Suffers Suffocating Closure

***image2***Shufa village is located to the east of Tulkarem; the 1500 residents of the village largely depend on agriculture and livestock for their living. Before the Aqsa intifada the Occupation forces, together with Israeli settlers confiscated large areas of the village’s lands from the west to build the settlement of Avne Hefetz, which was partially built on the main road linking the village to Tulkarem. This lead to closure of the road as Occupation soldiers and settlers prohibited the people from using it. Later, Occupation forces closed the other road between Shufa and Safarin east of the village, as well lands were confiscated to open a new bypass road coming from Taiba- an Arab village Occupied in 1948. Closing the second way to and from the village left only a dirt agricultural road which the villagers were then forced to use.

However, on Friday 21st march 2004 the Occupation forces closed this agricultural road using five large earth mounds, completing the isolation of Shufa by closing all three ways to and from the village. In fact villagers are not even allowed to walk on these roads; they are frequently threatened by settlers shooting at them or Occupation soldiers humiliating them when finding villagers on the road.

This sealing of the village has completely isolated the people of Shufa from their surroundings. People are prevented from reaching their work places or the schools, as well as being separated from essential services; such as medical care. There is no medical clinic in the village and people receive medical treatment from Tulkarem. Neither regular patients, nor emergency cases are now able to receive treatment due to the strict closure of all roads to and from the village. In addition there is no electricity in the village because there is no means to bring in large quantities of petrol required for village generators. As well, a looming environmental disaster threatens the village, as garbage trucks are not able to reach the village. Moreover, the continuation of the closure will have severe economic implications for the village farmers who are not able to provide food for their animals, and are unable to market their agricultural and animal products outside the village.

All aspects of life in the village are threatened if the village road, which has belonged to the people of Shufa for decades, is not reopened.