In Qaffin: The Apartheid Gates and the Policy of “Permits”
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In Qaffin: The Apartheid Gates and the Policy of “Permits”

***image2***Occupation Forces continue to refuse to issue its so-called “permits” for the citizens of Qaffin village, located in the northern Tulkarm District. Only 650 people from Qaffin have “permits”, while the number of people that have requested to access their lands which the Occupation Forces have now made inaccessible due to the building of the Apartheid Wall, is some 1600 people. At present, it is the olive harvest season, with people unable to access their groves.

The village of Qaffin is situated in the Tulkarm District, with 8000 inhabitants. The village area is some 10,000 dunums, but with the building the Apartheid Wall during the Wall’s “first phase”, all the village lands, minus most of the residential area, were isolated between the Wall and the “Green Line”, as the Occupation ensured to separate people from their lands, annex the lands, and prevent people from a main source of income following the Occupation closure policy that began with the Oslo Accords but was intensified with the second Intifada.

The Occupation Forces refuse to let the people of Qaffin, as in other villages, from using cars or trucks through the gates in order to transport their produce, so people use animal-run carts to carry their harvests. In attempts to sell and market their crops, farmers are finding it hard, if not impossible, as the market prices have dropped to a severe low; at times, and once the painful and humiliating task of crossing the gates and bringing the fruits to sell has taken place, sales are an entirely insufficient source of income.

The Apartheid Wall in Qaffin is encircling the village from the west and southwest, having destroyed for its path alone 500 dunums while isolating 6500 dunums from the agricultural lands of the village, as Qaffin has now lost all of its lands and farms. In Qaffin village there are two gates in the Apartheid Wall with their so-called stated purpose, as per the Occupation, to be used by Palestinians to reach their lands; in fact, the Occupation maintains the gates shut at all times with only few exceptions as those with Occupation “permits” have infrequent “access”. The majority of the people in Qaffin must travel far, to the Apartheid Wall gate located on Zeita village lands, if they want to access their own lands, yet still contingent upon Occupation “permission” to cross the gate in Zeita.

The Apartheid Wall and its gates are concretizing the farmers’ loss of all their lands and main source of income. As long as the gates, as an integral part of the Apartheid Wall and its associated policies, remain in tact, lands will be destroyed and dried up, annexed, confiscated, and settlements expanding on them, which is already taking place in various areas in the Wall’s “first phase”.