Community Voices

One of the families to be isolated by the Wall from the city of Bethlehem has been living in their old house for more than 40 years, renting it and its surrounding lands; the family has been working in agriculture and animal husbandry for their entire time. According to Ottoman lands law, which are still used by Occupation Forces, after a person works in a land for a certain period of time, that person becomes its owner. This means that the Jado family is now legally entitled to the land since they have been working on it for over 40 years.



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The Following is the Community Voice of Abu Shaher, the owner of a furniture store on the Ramallah-Jerusalem road in Ar Ram.



***image1***If they build the Wall, then they are destroying 90% of the street (the commercial life on the side of the street). As a furniture store owner, I will loose my clients who won’t be able to reach me, except by making huge efforts; the client will have to pass from the Qalandiya checkpoint and then go around to enter Ar Ram - this is of course if they allow Palestinians from Jerusalem to enter this area at all.






***image1***My land is located in an area were many peoples lands where confiscated in 1993. During that year I was in prison, and when I was released in 1994 I gave all my time to protect my land from any further attempts to confiscate more. The Occupation forces tried different ways to prevent us from reaching our lands, they would shoot at us while we were heading to the land, or while working in it. Nevertheless we resisted and continued to go to our lands and plant our fields.




***image3***When somebody watches a tragic film for the first time, he feels surprised and sad, and when he watches the same film for the second time, he becomes less surprised and so on. However, the wall tragedy is a live one, its actions renewed daily, its pains and tears are real ones. In more than one and a half years watching the impacts of the wall, every time I visit a new location, or even the same location, I notice new horrible actions took place, as if I see or hear the story of the wall for the first time.

***image1***We came to our lands on Sunday and Monday (March 7/8), and then I could not come again for two days as I was sick. We were a group of old women, but the minute we arrived to the lands and the soldiers saw us they stood in one line and they would not let us pass.

We met Ziad in the street where he was trying to decide how to best place the used “caravan” he’d bought on a piece of land by the side of the street. He planned to move all of his merchandise from the shop to the caravan because he could no longer afford to pay rent for the shop. Ziad says:




Al Bandak Stone, one of the oldest factories in Palestine, established in 1967, has been, like all Palestinian economic establishments, routinely targeted by Occupation forces in a continuing attempt to close down and destroy the factory. Al Bandak Stone has faced numerous assaults by Occupation forces over the last years, the most severe occurring during the invasion of Bethlehem in 2002. While the Occupation forces bombarded the nearby Aida Refugee Camp, they also targeted the factory destroying the ceiling and paralyzing one whole section of the facility.

Omar Said -Abu Mohammad- is a farmer from Qalqiliya, and a father of five. Omar's story is an example of how farmers in communities that have their lands isolated behind the Wall suffer to reach their lands.



Omar owns eight dunums of agricultural land to the north of Qalqiliya city, the land is mainly planted with olive trees, and is the family’s main source of income.






***image1***Walaja is located south west of Jerusalem. The village was Occupied in October 1948, but Palestinian and Egyptian guerillas fought off the Israeli battalions and successfully defended their village. Several times they were able to force the Occupation troops to withdraw, but in the end the village was Occupied. (Al Khalidi, Wallid 1992: All That Remains). The village was then destroyed, and Aminadav settlement was built on its lands along with an Israeli park.




The following is a portion of a presentation/testimony given by Sharif Omar Khaled (Abu Azzam) at the symposium co-organized by PENGON/Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign at The Hague on Saturday, February 21. The symposium, also referred to as the Popular Hearing, sought to provide a platform at The Hague for affected communities to make their struggle known worldwide.







In September, when construction for the Apartheid Wall began in Abu Dis, people living closest to the area of destruction for the Wall continuously resisted its ravaging work. The women and there children from three homes would arrive to the lands being confiscated each day and try to stop the bulldozers, sitting in front of the machines’ unyielding path. After the first time, the Occupation soldiers surrounded their homes in order to prevent the people from reaching their land.

Wafa is 25 years old and a teacher in the elementary school in Shuqba village. She tells the story about what happened when the bulldozers came to clear the land for the Wall’s path in Budrus.




Ibrahim Atmawi, 65 years old, from Azzun Atma, 12 km south of Qalqiliya, lives with his 13 person family in a small house no bigger than 200 square meters. In September of last year, the people of the village learned of the Occupation intention to build the Wall. Attached to the confiscation orders that were given to the villages south of Qalqiliya, a map showed the section of the Wall to be constructed in that area. According to the map, the Wall would isolate a cypress grove which is on 30 dunums of land, in addition to 100 dunums of olive trees, all of which belong to Ibrahim.

The Wall passes through land, destroying, expelling and uprooting all that is good and replacing it with hatred, increasing people’s suffering and further distancing justice from reality, damaging all that comes in its way, whether human, tree, or wildlife. Omar Izzat is one witness to what disaster and loss means.




The 40-100 meter wide, 8-kilometer-long northern Jerusalem wall is designed to isolate the Palestinian community, not to encircle the city. About 800 dunums of land were confiscated from Palestinian owners to build that portion of the wall.



QALANDIA



Qalandia, north of Jerusalem, is a major checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. The wall isolates 30,000 Palestinians in Kafr Aqab and Qalandiya who hold Jerusalem ID cards from the city as well as from family, workplaces, and social and public services.



Fatima Asaad










Ramadan owns a house and land in the area between Sammu and Dhahriya in the southern part of the Hebron district. He began purchasing the land before 1948 and has continued to expand—today he owns almost 420 dunums*. However, currently Ramadan’s land and home, and his life’s work, are threatened by the expansion of the Israeli settlements Shim’a to the south and Otni’el to the north. Further, if the Wall is to be built as projected, Ramadan’s land will be isolated into an enclave between the two settlements and cut-off from Hebron and the entire West Bank.




Hani Amer is 46 years old from Mas-ha village, in the northwest of Salfit district. Amer and his eight family members live in a 165m² house, from the western side of the house expands the Israeli settlement Elkana; now the Apartheid Wall is being built to pass from Amer’s house and land, under the pretext as one of the many things that threaten “Israel’s security”.




***image1***‘Abbas Khaled ‘Ali Yusef is a tradesman from Baqa ash Sharqiya who has lost two shops since the construction of the Wall began and the targeting of the commercial areas along the Green Line. His first shop, a seed and nut toaster for wholesale and retail food provision, was located five meters from the Israeli military checkpoint separating Baqa ash Sharqiya and Nazlat ‘Isa; both villages will be isolated between the Wall and the 1967 Green Line.

My daughter studied for the tawjihi, the final high school examination, in Kifl Harith; she had to study in that village because she was in the scientific branch but with the Occupation’s closures and checkpoints she was constantly absent from school. This caused her to repeat her final year but this time she changed to the literary branch so she would not have to travel to Kifl Harith anymore. She is engaged, her fiancée worked for a few years in one of Arab states…he was arrested on the bridge from Jordan to Palestine and is now in one of the Occupation's prisons.




Displacement a word that reflects the unfortunate reality waiting for Palestinians, this word shapes the living reality of suffering and pain. Abu Amar is living this reality, the summary of his life best paints the picture.




***image1*** The Wall is located in front of me, all the time, as it is just 17 meters away from my home. Not one person in Qalqiliya feels the Wall as I do. It is always there, me and my family no longer see the sky, nor the sunset, nothing but a ten meter high concrete wall.



No one can imagine what I have been through.






***image1*** Abu Muhannad, a resident of Habla village, is a farmer who depends on his land and livestock to support his family of 11 individuals, most of who are children. The Wall around Habla isolates his home and land from the rest of the village, trapping his family in the area Israel looks to annex. Daily life for them is unbearably filled with military and armed patrols, bulldozers, and the uprooting of trees and razing of their lands. The family lives in constant fear for the fate of their land and their personal safety.




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