***image2***Today, at 6:00am, Occupation Forces started destroying tens of commercial buildings in Barta’a Sharqiya, west Jenin. The destruction of nearly one year ago, when the market in Baqa Sharqiya and Nazlat Isa was completely destroyed, is being repeated today in Barta’a Sharqiya. Once again, these actions come under the same theme of “moving the Wall closer to the Green Line”.
Today in Barta’a the Occupation Bulldozers accompanied with hundreds of Occupation soldiers, started demolishing commercial buildings in Barta’a under the pretext of not having building permits.
Until now eight commercial stores were demolished, a sewing factory where 30 women workers work, three houses, an olive mill, three furniture stores, and four workshops. The demolitions were still taking place at the time that this report was being written. Occupation Forces intend to demolish thirty buildings and stores as a first phase of a series of demolitions for 76 buildings that received demolition orders almost two years ago when the Wall was completed to the east of the village.
Barta’a, given the last three years of severe closure imposed by the Occupation on the West Bank, and being close to the Green Line, had become one of the most active commercial areas in the West Bank providing Palestinian women and men from different areas of the West Bank with work. Today, those people witnessed the nightmare that they had feared since the Wall was built turn into a reality, causing them to lose the last remaining source of living they have.
Until this morning, Hussein Rehan, 42 years old, owned three stores through which he could support his family as well as the families of his five brothers who lost their jobs, and the families of the seven workers who used to work for him. Today Hussein lost their source of living, along with the other twelve families. Hussein is originally from Yabad in Jenin, and he has been living in Barta’a for three years.
Also today, Ahmad Kabaha lost his carpentry shop, from which he used to support 20 people of his family.
Abu Asa’d’s story summarizes the destruction of the Occupation’s actions today in Barta’a through the targeting of Palestiniansâ lives. Abu As’ad 43 years old is originally from Attil in Tulkarem; his family is still in Attil and he has not visited them for eight months now, fearing that the Occupation Forces will come to destroy his garage. Abu As’ad has eight children and he also supports his brother in getting mental health services. Today, while Occupation Forces were destroying his garage, Abu As’ad was waving to his shop, later pulling the the sign he had on the entrance of his garage out of the rubble and placing it proudly for all to see once again, letting the Occupation know that he will return. After the demolition Abu Asâad was left tending to his fish tank he had managed to save from the demolition, where he has eight fish, each having the name of one of his children.
Barta’a used to be one village before the Occupation of 1948, its inhabitants where one family: “Kabaha”; its lands used to extend on the mountains of North West Jenin from the mountains of Khattaf to Wadi Maya and reached until Yabad. After the Nakba of 1948, Occupation Forces occupied parts of Barta’a dividing it into two sections, one inside the 1948 lands and the other east of the Green Line. Ein Sahla, Wadi Qassab, Khur Al Saqer and parts of Barta’a where inside the Green Line, while the other parts and the rest of Jenin western villages remained unoccupied until 1967.
Despite this division, the people of Barta’a continued to be one family. Even during the period between 1948 and 1967, the people transcended the borders drawn by the Occupation and maintained their relations. When there was a wedding on one side, the other side was informed, using the minaret of the mosque with two parties held – one for each side – and the gifts for the marrying couple were thrown over the Wadi that separates the two sides.
Now Barta’a, along with another five villages is isolated west of the Apartheid Wall. Its people have to obtain permits to stay in their village, after Occupation Forces declared a “seam zone” last October, where Palestinians need permits to access or stay in the area. The Wall and the so called “trans Israel” highway confiscated one thousand dunums of the 3000 dunums of the village’s lands. Today a new Wall is planned and the new destruction for the new Wall is being carried out.
The people in Barta’a, both the western and eastern sides of it, confronted Occupation Forces today, throwing stones at the Occupation soldiers, who then shot tear gas, rubber and live bullets at the people. Fourteen people were wounded, one lost his eye when he was hit by a rubber bullet another was shot with a live round in his arm, while a third was shot with live rounds in his leg.
The people in Barta’a were protesting the destruction that the Occupation has been targeting them with for 56 years with the aim of expelling them. They were resisting a Wall that will come for the first time since 56 years between them â a Wall that most probably, as in Baqa, will be made of eight meter concrete slabs, playing yet another deceiving media game wherein Occupation Forces claim that the Wall is being moved closer to the Green Line, yet ignore the destruction it is having on Palestinian lives.