The Occupation forces last night began work on the Apartheid Wall in Zawiya village west of Salfit. Occupation Forces surveyed the village last Thursday and told the people there that they were going to start construction on Sunday the 6th of June which was yesterday. However, Occupation forces didnât begin until well after sunset yesterday, to ensure that they could destroy large areas of lands and uproot trees without anyone able to witness their crimes. The Occupation bulldozers worked throughout the night and continued to raze the land and uproot the trees throughout the day.
The people in the village headed towards their lands early this morning, trying to stop the bulldozers, however, large numbers of Occupation forces blocked their path, and prevented them from reaching their lands. The soldiers then used tear gas to try and force the people back into the village.
Despite these attempts to force the people away from their lands, many of the women, young men and children were able to access their lands, where they sat in front of the bulldozers.
The Occupation forces then further attempted to disperse the demonstrators, using tear gas and clubs, beating the people and holding the young men. Many people suffered from gas inhalation, three young men were badly beaten, one of them around his head. As well Occupation forces verbally abused the demonstrators, particularly the women and young girls.
Rabiha Youssef was one of the women who sat in front of the Occupation Bulldozers. Rabiha says, âWe confronted the Occupation forces with our bodies. We told them that we are not going to let them uproot our trees which weâve raised like our children. My niece, who is not ten yet, stood in front of the bulldozers and told the Occupation soldiers that this is our land, and told them to go back from where they came. My mother is sixty years old, she refused to stay in the house while they were uprooting our trees, and she came to the lands and put herself in the way of the bulldozer.â
Zawiya is located on a series of mountains in the middle coastal region of Palestine, in the western section of Salfit district. The village has been targeted continuously over the last 37 years with land confiscations. Occupation forces have confiscated 7000 dunums of the villageâs lands, 2000 of which were used to construct âElkanaâ settlement. More lands were later confiscated for the huge highway â road 5- Occupation forces are building to connect the settlements in Salfit, Qalqiliya and Nablus districts â namely Ariel and the Shomron block, built in the heart of the West bank – to settlements inside the Green Line. 500 dunums were also confiscated for an occupation military camp, and connected with this people cannot access large sections of their lands as they have been declared closed military areas for military training.
Zawiyaâs 5500 people rely mostly on agriculture and jobs inside the Green Line as their main sources of income. Recently reliance on agriculture has increased with the tightened closures imposed on the West Bank by the Occupation forces. Once constructed The Apartheid Wall built around the village will prevent the people from reaching their workplaces inside the Green Line, and at the same time will confiscate and isolate what little is left of their farmlands.
The Wall will run in close proximity to the houses of the village, and not more than 40 meters away from the village school. After the Wall is complete, the village will have only 2000 dunums remaining out of an original 24,000 dunums. These 2000 dunums represent the exact physical area of the village, without farmland, The Apartheid Wall will place Zawiya, Deir Ballut and Rafat in a ghetto separated from the rest of Salfit district except for a road that travels under the Zawiya Bridge to the north, linking it with Masha Village. The Wall will completely encircle these three villages in order to annex the settlements of Peduel, Ale Zahav and Brukhin.
Currently when the people in these villages wish to travel to the rest of Salfit, they travel north to Qarawat Bani Hassan,cross the roadblock at the entrance of the village and from there take local transportation to Bidya and Salfit. However, when the Wall is completed these three villages together with Masha and Bidya will be completely isolated from Salfit, and will only be able to reach the rest of the district by traveling north to Qalqiliya and Nablus districts and from there traveling back south towards Salfit and the rest of the area villages.
The American administration announced yesterday that they will not accept Palestinians being put in Bantustans. At the very same moment Occupation forces started building the Wall in two critical Palestinian locations, Ar Ram in Jerusalem, and Zawiya in Salfit, placing tens of thousands of Palestinians in both areas into ghettos.
This recklessness by the Israelis might be explained by saying that Israelis pay little attention to what the Americans have to say, that they know the Americans do not really mean what they say, particularly when they direct critiques against Israel. Alternatively, another explanation is that in the end the Israelis, with the help of the Americans, will find a way to link all the different enclaves and ghettos with each other through a series of bridges and tunnels. In this way, the Americans will have the “territorial contiguity” they are supposedly “demanding” for Palestinians. But, in fact, for the Americans an enclave or a ghetto with a tunnel is a new pretense, where a ghetto is no longer called by its name. With this logic, the West Bank and Gaza are not comprised of caged Bantustans, and the Wall is no longer an Apartheid Wall.