Map of Affected Locality:

Above: A Map showing the area of Azzun Atma in Qalqiliya. The heavy blue line shows the Wall's path. The settlement of Sha’are Tiqva, built on the village’s lands, is also shown in blue.

Full Map of Apartheid Wall

Abed Allah has carried the responsibility of protecting his community’s land and resisting settlements into his sixties. Since the 1980s, working with the Land Defense Committees, Abed Allah has been fighting the confiscation of Palestinian land by the Occupation Forces. In the mid-1980s, the Occupation Forces confiscated 86 dunums of land that belonged to Abed Allah’s family due to the construction of the Israeli settlement of Sha’are Tiqva. Last year, the building of the Apartheid Wall around the village of Azzun culminated in the loss of more land. He stated:

“Today the Wall stole 38 of 48 dunums of my remaining land. In Azzun Atma, all of the land was planted with olive trees. Each dunum has 50 olive trees in it. Altogether that is 1900 olive trees, many of which have stood since Roman times. The ironic thing is that I had to get a permit to reach my land inside the settlement, and after the Wall I had to get another permit to reach the land isolated behind it. Now they are not giving me permits to reach any”.

Permits and continuous humiliation

Abed Allah’s story with permits is a long and bitter struggle: “When my remaining land became behind the Wall I took a permit and moved to Azzun Atma. I am originally from Beit Amin, my wife and children are there, I lived in a shed that I established on my land. They [Occupation Forces] gave my wife a permit to come and visit me in Azzun Atma. It took us two years to get the permit for her, yet there is only one kilometer between Azzun Atma and Beit Amin. It only took five minutes to walk from one side to the other, however, it takes three hours now to get through the gate. That is if they will let us in. Sometimes it takes half a day. If the Israelis do not want her to get in I won’t see her.”

The Wall symbolizes the ongoing process of land confiscation and destruction of Palestinian livelihoods. Yet the story does not end there. Daily harassment by Occupation Forces seeks to regulate and control every aspect of Palestinian life:

“During Eid of Winter 2004, some Occupation Officers came to us and said that a boy threw a stone at a patrol car. They collected all the boys and started investigating who threw the stone. A soldier pointed at one of the girls. Yet, there were some 150 meters between us and the patrol car. How would the stone reach that distance? If a dog or a deer touches the wires of the Wall the Occupation soldiers arrive and start harassing the people. Do they think I am a guard to the wall?

“Izbat Salman is divided by the Wall into two parts, to reach the part isolated behind the Wall you need permits. You go through the gate at 8:00 am. Then you will have to wait behind the Wall until the Occupation soldiers come back. If you miss them then you will be stuck behind the Wall. When they let you in the soldiers tell you that you have an hour, sometimes two or maybe five depending on the soldier’s mood.

“I am convinced that all land confiscated or isolated is for the expansion of the settlements. If they come now and say they are taking the lands for settlements there will be protests, so they say it is for security and all other kind of excuses. Gradually they confiscate and annex all what is behind the Wall.”

What is planned for Azzun Atma?

Abed Allah explains that: “Azzun Atma’s location is coming in the way of the expansion of the Sha’are Tiqva settlement in the west and the Oranit settlement in the east. The village is in the middle. In the south there is a valley where the two settlements connect by the so-called “trans-Israel” bypass road. If they are to surround it [the village] with the Wall they will have to separate the two settlements and this is not what they want to do. But in the end, they will also never leave Azzun Atma in between.

Abed Allah says that the intensifying of settlements in Qalqiliya district is about controlling water resources as much as it is about the land. “There are 7 ground water wells in the area, the biggest source of water from Jenin to Hebron, from Wadi Qana until Wadi Matwiya in Qalqiliya and Salfit district. They built seven settlements in the area calling them the seven stars: Kokhav Ya’ir north Qalqiliya, Alfe Menashe south Qalqiliya, Qarne Shomron to the east, Emmanuel, as well as Sha’are Tiqva, Oranit, and Ale Zahav. All seven settlements were built in the area of the water, seen as treasure to the Israelis and so they call the villages the seven stars”.

The Wall and the myth of a “viable state”:

“The Wall will be 700 kms in the West Bank, around a quarter of the West bank will be annexed behind the Wall and another quarter is annexed through the annexation of the settlements. What is left for the great state?! They partitioned Palestine, and then they said two states, where will this state be now? On 20%, 15% I want to know where the borders of this state will be. What size will it have? How will it be “viable”?

“Qalqiliya is the area most devastated by the Wall. It is a prison surrounded by walls and wires with one gate. When a soldier wants to close it some 50,000 people are imprisoned inside. In Qalqiliya, the Wall stretches until Hajja then cutting deeper to the east, tightening around Qalqiliya city to annex the settlement of Alfe Menashe. They sealed off Qalqiliya, made a hole and called it tunnel. For me it is a hole. No hole controls a city or a village like the one between Habla and Qalqiliya. If the Occupation Forces are upset they close the hole and that’s it. The Wall deprives villages from any expansion potential while giving settlements all expansion required. This is what happened in Habla, they surrounded it for the expansion of Alfe Menashe, when they reached Wadi Qana they made a big bridge between Izbat Salman and Beit Amin with tunnels to connect the two ends of the Wall. When it rained last time this caused a flood and we almost drowned, and all because of the Wall.



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