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Segregation Wall Completely Isolates Palestinians

Segregation Wall Completely Isolates Palestinian Villages

The residents of Nazlat Abu Nar, Nazlat Isa, and Baqa al-Sharqiya in the northern West Bank, say they have become completely cut off and isolated from the rest of the West Bank because of the segregation wall, which Israel is building east of the green line.

Before the wall was built, one could see clearly from one village to the other. “Now it’s impossible,” said Jawdat Ketana, 55, head of the Nazlat Abu Nar village council.

“It will be a major inconvenience for anyone wanting to visit their family or go to hospital and many Palestinians doubt they will be given freedom of movement through the checkpoints”, the village official told AFP.

But the most serious consequence of the wall for thousands of Palestinian families is without doubt the loss of their farmland and natural resources.

This northwest expanse of the West Bank has been particularly blessed by fertile ground, which has yielded olives, fruit and vegetables in abundance.

But the Israeli occupation army has expropriated and razed thousands of hectares (acres), including some of the most fertile land in the region, during the wall building.

Moreover, thousands of Palestinians now find themselves living on one side of the wall with their fields on the other.

Ketana, who like all the inhabitants of Nazlat Abu Nar is dependent on farming, says he has lost 0.8 hectares (two acres), representing two thirds of his land, as a result of the wall. Now he is left with just a few fields.

Abdullah, who works with his five sons, fears that there will be nothing left.

“It leaves a question mark over our whole future,” he said.

“This year has been the most difficult we have ever known.”

All the families in the village were becoming increasingly dependent on aid from international or Palestinian organizations to make ends meet, Abdullah added.

“They are strangling us. The people can no longer breathe,” he said.

He added that has no doubt that “this wall will replace the green line” and become the de facto border between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Israel began building the segregation wall in June 2002.

The Palestine National Authority (PNA) has repeatedly slammed the wall as another Israeli step aimed at creating a new status quo (by annexing more Palestinian land) in the occupied Palestinian territory and destroying the “roadmap”—a peace blueprint for solving the Mideast conflict put forward by the diplomatic “Quartet” of negotiators from the US, EU, Russia and the UN.

The 600-km long, 8-meter high wall, which has already annexed thousands of dunums of Palestine’s most fertile agricultural land, would render about 95,000 Palestinians on the “wrong” side of the wall, totally isolated from the majority of Palestinians living on the other side of the barrier, a study by the EU, US, World Bank and International Monetary Fund has revealed.

US Raise Objection to the Wall During Rice Visit

Last month, Condoleezza Rice, the US national security adviser, has raised objections to the wall with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon during a visit to Israel and the occupied territory.

According to the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, Rice told Sharon that the construction of the wall was seen by Palestinians as the precursor to the border of a future Palestinian state.

“The route of the security fence that you are building... arouses our deep concern,” Yediot quoted Rice as saying. “I propose that you reconsider the route where the fence passes.”

American and Israeli officials said Sharon rebuffed Rice’s comments.

US administration officials said that Rice’s position illustrates the US new willingness to prod Israel and to get involved in the minutiae of the negotiations, the New York Times said.

A senior US official said that in fact more pressure on Israel to stop construction of the wall is certain in coming weeks. “The very fact that Rice raised the issue of the fence with Sharon is significant,” said an administration official. “We will be back on this issue if things don't improve.”

Administration officials also said that the exchange between Rice and Sharon also shows a decision to direct more pressure on Israel from both the White House and the State Department.


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