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Demonstration / Roadblock / Checkpoint Watch

12 July Demonstration/Roadblock/Checkpoint Watch

The people of Azmut, Deir Hatub and Salim will participate in a non- violent demonstration against the suffocation of their villages. They are extending an open invitation for people to join them to hear their voices. The villages can be reached from Nablus or from the road which leads down from Elon Morie settlement. Since September 2002 the villages of Azmut, Salim and Deir Hatub have experienced complete closure.

This is collective punishment, illegal by international law, for an attack (which did not come from the villages) on the Elon Morie settlement which overlooks them. The closure is made a physical reality by the creation of a large trench dug by the IDF surronding the villages, filled with sewage in parts to make them impossible to cross by foot.

Following an appeal by Physicians for Human Rights to the Israeli High Court of Justice the IDF cleared one of the roads and errected a gate across it. No vehicle is allowed to pass along this road from Nablus to the villages, and often even ambulances are unable to cross.

One woman was recently forced to give birth at the checkpoint, and then proceed to Nablus alone on foot because her husband was denied entry to the city. The village economies are ruined by the closure as their goods cannot get to market, and they cannot be supplied with the food they need from Nablus. Teachers and students cannot reach the schools and university.

People either cross the fields, risking daily detention and confiscation of their IDs at nearby Beit Foriq checkpoint or attempt the dangerous valley path. This path is so steep that it has claimed two lives, the most recent being Fadi Alawna from Salim, 22 years old and two months from graduation. Fadi was trying to reach his university through the valley when the soldiers shot at him, and he slipped and fell to his death.

The demonstration is planned by local groups in the village and will be heavily attended by women and children. The people of the village aim to highlight the plight of the villages by symbolically dying the sewage water in the trench red and and by creating dialogue with the soldiers who daily harrass, detain and attack them. Members of the International Solidarity Movement and local Israeli peace groups will also be in attendance.

Roadblock Removal Planned for July 9

The village of Beit Foriq outside Nablas is in the C area, under direct Israeli military administration. This means that soldiers pass almost every day, leaving injured kids behind. The checkpoint is closed for most people and 6 or 7 huge roadblocks seperate Beit Foriq from other villages.

The village has many problems with water supply as there is no water grid, leaving them to rely on rainwater and tanks, and the water trucks which have to attempt to pass the checkpoint. The situation has slightly improved as there is a new well provided by the municipality.

The Itimar settement overlooks Beit Foriq, adding to the closure and isolation and all the hill tops have been confiscated. On Wednesday ISM Nablas will remove one of the roadblocks that cut off Beir Foriq from the rest of the area, as part of the Freedom Summer campaign that aims to help ease the suffocating closure of Palestinian areas.

Checkpoint Watch

Qalqilia July, 5 2003 4 internationals, 1 local coordinator, and 2 local ISM activists went to the Qalqilia checkpoint for checkpoint watch. This checkpoint is the only entrance and exit from Qalqilia because of the Apartheid Wall which surrounds the city - Upon arrival delays were minimal for Palestinians leaving Qalqilia, but at least 40 Palestinian men, women and children were being forced to wait and were not being allowed into the city by the Israeli Occupying Forces, some Palestinians had been waiting for up to two hours.

1 international activist and the local ISm coordinator went to observe the soldiers and one soldier said, "Move, you're bothering me." Within 20 minutes the soldiers allowed all of the waiting people to enter into Qalqilia. At 9:55 am, Israeli soldiers began detaining Palestinian men who were trying to leave Qalqilia until 12 men had been detained and were being forced to wait in the sun. After this inhumane treatment persisted for an hour, ISm activists asked the soldiers why the men were being detained and forced to wait in the sun.

After the inquiry, them men were allowed to stand in the shade and within half an hour, the men's ID's were returned and they were allowed to leave Qalqilia. Meanwhile, the ISM activists found out that 23 Palestinian men who were trying to enter Qalqilia were being detained by the Israeli Occupying Forces on the other side of the checkpoint.

ISM activists asked the soldiers when the men would be released and approximately 15 minutes later the men's ID's were returned and they were allowed to enter Qalqilia. The same day another group of ISM activsts went with the local coordinator to two meetings with represntatives from the Qalqilia community.

The first meeting was with the mayor of the Qalqilia municipality to discuss plans for a delegation of French mayors who would be visiting Qalqilia the follwoing day.

Then the group met with a representative of the local agricultural committees to discuss the problems the Israeli Occupying Forces are causing for Palestinian farmers in the region. The key problems discussed were: -A factory in a nearby settlement is dumping its waste into Palestinian farmland and destroying the crops. -The Israeli Occupying Forces destoyed a water pump house for irrigation and continues to interfere with its reconstruction. -Farmers continue to be cut off from their land by the Apartheid Wall, road blocks, and checkpoints.

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