Isolation looms for Ni’lin and surrounding villages
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Isolation looms for Ni’lin and surrounding villages

In Ni’lin Occupation forces uprooted 25 olive trees for the construction of the Karyat Safer terminal, precipitating clashes between soldiers and the people of the village. The construction of the Wall and terminal will completely isolate Ni’lin and five other villages between the Wall and settler road 446.

On 15 February, a military patrol entered the village and announced that the southern area was a closed military zone. The area was sealed off, and those living there were prohibited from leaving their homes. About an hour later, military bulldozers were brought in and immediately began to uproot trees.

The arrival of the bulldozers sparked off violent clashes between villagers and soldiers, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Three people were shot, one in the face, and needed to be transported to Sheikh Zaid hospital in Ramallah for treatment.

The bulldozed land belongs to ‘Ata Mustafa Hussein and ‘Ali Musa. Last April a military order was issued confiscating 18.9 dunums for the construction of the terminal. However, at least 61 dunums will be required, meaning that many more olive trees will be destroyed in this area.

Occupation forces have planned for the construction of a terminal and tunnel on the southeast side of the village, between the homes and the area where the Wall will be erected. The terminal, which will lead to the military checkpoint already set up at road 446, will extend some 400 meters into the village. Palestinians will be completely barred from accessing this road, and instead be forced to pass through the terminal and checkpoint before crossing under the settler road through a tunnel. The terminal will be under the control of soldiers, meaning that harassment, delays, closures are inevitable.

This move will not only isolate Ni’lin, but all the villages trapped between the Wall and road 446. The villages of Rantis, Budrus, Shuqba, Qibya, and Midya will all confined to a small enclave, with the Ni’lin terminal serving as the only outlet to the rest of the West Bank.