Expulsion of coal workers in Yabad: Northern West Bank strangled by closures
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Expulsion of coal workers in Yabad: Northern West Bank strangled by closures

South of Yabad – in the west of Jenin district – Occupation Forces have expelled coal workers from their land and work places. Meanwhile intense closures have suffocated the entire northern area of the West Bank, increasing the ghettoization of the disparate Palestinian areas.

***image2***Palestinians engaged in the manufacture of coal near Yabad were expelled on Thursday the 20th of April. They had been collecting wood, which is turned into coal and sold on local markets. At total of 8 artisans had employed around 40 workers, and were the biggest producers of coal used across the West Bank. Production and distribution has been blocked for 11 days, every day bringing a loss to Palestinians of around 40,000 NIS.

The Occupation have attempted on previous occasions to expel Palestinians from these work places. They had declared the area a “closed military zone”, destroyed the ovens and forced people to leave. However, coal producers came back and started work in defiance of Occupation orders. In February, the Occupation gave out another warning, to no avail, as Palestinians remained steadfast to their livelihoods in the area.

The latest expulsion has been followed with the permanent stationing of Occupation Soldiers to oversee the area. It reveals an attempt to cleanse Palestinians from the lands, to allow control of the area for the nearby settlement of Mevo Dotan. The expansion of this settlement affects not only the coal workers, but also encroaches upon several villages. People in nearby Imreiha have been barred from building any new houses or structures whilst existing buildings are routinely demolished. In the last few years, seven buildings have been reduced to rubble.

The demolition of these buildings, the destruction of workplaces and local production, and the inability of people to raise animals or use their agricultural lands, are all part of a larger strategy to deny any viable Palestinian life.

Meanwhile, over the last 5 days Occupation Forces have stepped up closures in the northern West Bank, moving towards the total isolation of the northern Bantustan comprised of Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqiliya and Nablus. The Jordan Valley is now completely sealed off for all Palestinian residents and non-residents.

Occupation policies in the northern West Bank move closer to the status of complete isolation of the area from the ghettos in the Salfit and Ramallah district. Za’tara, the main passage point from Nablus to Ramallah and Salfit is completely closed and secondary roads in the Salfit district have been severed. In Biddiya, the gate on the road heading south is closed. On the road between Qalqiliya and Salfit, the Occupation has stationed a checkpoint near to Jensafut. In Jamma’in the gate leading southwards from Nablus is also inaccessible.

Checkpoints make movement impossible between the major cities of Qalqiliya, Tulkarem, Jenin and Nablus. This isolation is intensified by the total siege on the Jordan Valley to the east. No Palestinian is allowed to enter or exit the area. The only Palestinians allowed to cross the checkpoints to or from the Jordan Valley are workers with special permits for the settlements.