For the last month villagers from Masha in Salfit district have been barred from accessing their lands isolated behind the Apartheid Wall. Occupation Forces have claimed closures to the prison gates to the lands are âseasonalâ but have now begun uprooting the isolated lands for settler expansion. Meanwhile Palestinians in Masha were subject to a brutal attack by Occupation settlers – part of the ongoing Zionist project of forced expulsion of villagers from their lands.
|Above: A map showing Masha, located just to the left of center. You can clearly see the amount of farmland (green) isolated behind the Apartheid Wall (heavy blue line). There are a number of Zionist colonies surrounding the villages. For full map click here.|
Villages have had no access to their agricultural lands since the 15th of May when Occupation administrators declared it to be a âseasonal gateâ that will only be open for olive harvesting between October and December.
Masha located in the southwest of Salfit has a population of 2500, all of whom are reliant upon local agricultural production. The lands isolated behind the wall comprise 5000 dunums which serves the families of over 130 farmers.
All year round the local community depends on the crops produced on the land. Before the closures farmers were preparing the land for the olive season and growing a range of fruits and vegetables. Moreover, there are currently 300 almond trees waiting to be harvested.
In Masha there is an additional gate by the colony of Elkana where the Occupation channels cheap Palestinian labor into the 1948 areas. This gate is open between 7 am â 8 am only and can only be used by laborers with “permits” and for the one family living on the isolated lands. Many of laborers can see the isolated land behind the Apartheid Wall reported that Occupation Forces began uprooting parts of the land on Monday the 4th of July.
Following trends across the West Bank whereby land isolated by the Apartheid Wall and collateral infrastructure (Jewish-only roads and military zones) is used for settlement expansion, villagers in Masha fear the sealing of their land represents its permanent annexation into the Elkana colonies or for 600 military units expected to arrive in the area from Gaza. The Occupation normally justifies such theft by applying centuries old Otmany law, which states that land dormant for three years automatically becomes state property.
Meanwhile in the house of Hani Amer– a family completely isolated behind the Wall â Palestinians came under attack from the colonists of Elkana on Monday the 4th of July. This family is entirely cut-off by the Wall and settler-infrastructure, living in a tiny isolated ghetto.