Testimonies of a few Palestinian residents
Fayez Odah (Farmer and coordinator of the Palestinian farmers' union of the Tulkarm district)
The Israeli government is building the apartheid wall since 5th April 2002. The first site of erection of the wall was the village of Faron in Tulkarm district. The military orders/notices allowed the farmers one week during which they could appeal against the erection of the wall through their lands in court. At the same time, the Israeli authorities imposed a curfew in the village for two weeks, so the farmers were unable to leave their houses to go to the court.
In Tulkarm, the wall has isolated 47000 durums or 46% of total farmland from its farmers since April 2002. This land is the some of the most fertile land in the district because it is properly irrigated. We have vegetable farms, greenhouses and citrus plantations there.
The wall passes through 17 villages in Tulkarm and in all of them the farms are outside the wall whereas the houses of the people are inside. Four of these villages are completely in the new no-man's land between the green line and the wall. Permits to cross the wall are very hard to get.
The wall directly affects everything in the lives of the common people. For example, I have 32 durums, 7 of which are greenhouses with vegetable plants. Ten families used to work on my land and this was their only form of subsistence. They are now dependent on foreign (or United Nations) aid.
In a village called Kufin (in the north of Tulkarm), there are 10000 durums, of which 6500 have been isolated by the wall and 500 more added to the nearby Israeli settlement of Halmish.
One of the four villages completely 'trapped' between the wall and the green line is East Baka Asharqiya. This village was an important water source for neighbouring areas because it has six water wells. None of these wells are accessible to anyone from outside the village now. In the second 'trapped' village called Nazlet Issa, many shops from all over the district had moved to this village because it was far from the cities, and had fewer curfews and other security problems. Due to its proximity to the green line and reasonably priced goods, the shops in the village used to attract customers from Israel. The 'trapping' of this village has paralyzed the lives of many people throughout the region.
I have cited the above examples to provide a sense of the reality on the ground in the areas crushed by the wall now. Are the above and many other disruptions of lives only for security reasons? If the wall is being built for security reasons only, why are the Israeli authorities building it on the East Side near the Palestinian border with Jordan?
Jamal Juma' (Coordinator of the anti-apartheid wall campaign in Palestine)
Our message is very clear to the international community and the international court of justice: It is not the illegality of the apartheid wall on trial today but rather, it is the international law and, as its reference, the United Nations system which are on trial. The Palestinian people want justice and the respect of international human rights laws by the government of Israel. Israel should obey the UN resolutions as other counties in the world do.
A de-legitimization of the wall implies a de-legitimization of the occupation. A fair trial and a just decision by the court will give us hope and push forward the struggle to end the occupation, to tear down the wall and have a free Palestine.
We at the Palestine anti-apartheid wall campaign call on the international community to protect human rights laws and the freedom of all people. We should not let colonial mentality or the superpowers to govern our future and bring us back to the colonial times of the previous centuries, which will only lead to an increase in the enmity among people. We need to act now to prevent a situation in the future where human lives are governed by conflict and conflict alone.
The Palestine anti-apartheid wall campaign was launched by PENGON in October 2002. The campaign's aim is to tear down the wall and recover the confiscated land, which should bring an end to the Israeli occupation. The campaign is the only grassroots movement in Palestine that organizes groups/committees of affected people and farmers to resist this latest project of colonization, the apartheid wall.
We call on the international community to put pressure on their governments and leaders to take responsibility for demolishing the apartheid wall and ending the occupation of Palestine.
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