Sheikh Nawaf Sarhan, school director in Arab Ramadin village, speaks candidly about the impact of the Apartheid Wall project in his village. Arab Ramadin, in South Hebron is the home of 3200 people who know that the Occupation is planning to destroy their lives and future. The full devastation will become unraveled as the Occupation’s final path of the Wall becomes apparent.

Dispossession has a long legacy in Arab Ramadin. In 1948, 25000 dunums of land were lost to the Occupation. Now with its Apartheid Wall, the Occupation Forces seek once again to rip apart this community and annex its lands.

Confiscation orders, which don’t reveal the final Wall path in the village, have thus far taken 2339 dunums from the village’s lands in the south. Some of these lands are used for grain (839 dunums) and the rest (1500 dunums) are pasture lands used for grazing animals, reflecting one of the main sources of living for the village.

Sarhan explains that until now the path of the Wall has changed twice. “,The latest about two weeks ago, showed that the Wall will swallow some 1000 dunums from Arab Ramadin area. However, we are not sure if this is the real final path of the Wall.” Occupation soldiers and their surveyors have been working in this area intensely over the last few weeks. People live in constant fear from the final route of the Wall.

The latest route of the Wall will isolate 16 families - totaling over 150 people - by placing them behind the Wall. Facing either imprisonment or expulsion these 150 villagers, part of the refugee community of 560 Palestinians living in Arab Ramadin, appear set to have their lives imminently destroyed. Moreover, as Sarhan explains the Apartheid Wall, whichever route it takes will have devastating effects, crippling remaining agricultural and pastoral activities while cutting off work inside the Green Line where Palestinians are forced to find work to make ends meet are used as unprotected and exploited labour.

“Any Wall built to the south of the village will come between the people in the village and their workplaces inside the Green Line. This will not only affect workers from Arab Ramadin, but workers coming from different areas from the West Bank that access their work places via Arab Ramadin. The economic impact on thousands of workers in the village and other villages will be enormous.”

Sheikh Nawaf explained how Occupation Forces continually repress workers trying to reach their work places inside the Green Line. Many families have chosen to only send one worker into the 1948 areas in order to avoid losing many family members to the Occupation prisons. Many go for six months then come back, before another member of the family leaves to work for six months.

“In our village, out of 500 workers the Occupation Forces have given permits for work and stay for around 100 workers. The permits are of a duration of three to six months. The permit, according to Occupation Forces, is to go to work for a certain period of time during which the worker is not allowed to come back to his family. Any worker caught while trying to go back to the village before the duration of the permit ends is not allowed in and is forced to stay the other side of the Green Line until the permit ends. Many workers are not always able to find work for the whole duration, and become trapped with no work, no money and no place to stay.”

“The people in the village have two main sources of living. They are working inside the 1948 areas with or without a permit, and on their livestock.” With the continuous confiscation of agricultural lands since 1948, villagers have been made increasingly economically dependant on the Occupation. With the ghettoization brought by the Wall, the path of Apartheid is being paved for the definitive expulsion of the Palestinian people from their land.

Sheikh Sawaf stated how the Apartheid Wall in Ramadin will have an enormous impact upon the entire social fabric of the community. “Students will be unable to reach their schools. Moreover, we already have problems with access to health services. This can only get worse, especially in terms of emergency cases. We only have a doctor that comes three times a week.”

The local community also has no water networks, depending on water gathering wells targeted by the land confiscated by the Wall. “We wait to see the route of the Wall as it becomes imposed upon our lands”, explained Narwa. “But whatever its final path, it will only bring about further devastation and loss to our village.”



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