Residents of Bizzariya reclaim freedom of movement
Residents of Bizzariya reclaim their freedom of movement
[Bizzariya, Tulkarem] Nearly 200 villagers, internationals and Israelis, removed three roadblocks of rocks, rubble and dirt from the road between Bizzariya and Anabta on Tuesday morning using their hands, shovels, picks and a bulldozer. The action was unchallenged by IDF and was completed in two hours.
For nearly four months, villagers from Bizzariya have faced road blocks and trenches on both sides of their village, virtually sealing the villagers in. Villagers requested assistance of International Solidarity Movement following an informational meeting held in Anabta in recent weeks about ISM's summer campaign plans for the region. Many internationals are in the West Bank supporting such actions, initiated by local villages.
The action today involved farmers, internationals, Israeli activists and children digging from the dirt piled along the road, filling in the trench, as well as the use of a bulldozer. The action opened the village to traffic from the west. Still closed are the roads between Bizzariya and Nablus to the east. The illegal Israeli settlement of Khomesh sits between Bizzariya and Nablus.
With access to Nablus cut off, Bizzariya's residents were forced to reorient their transport, health and commercial links through Anabta to the Governorate of Tulkarem. When the link to Tulkarem was severed four months ago, it left residents of Bizzariya cut off from social services, jobs, commerce and family members in other villages.
It has been a systematic policy of the Israeli army to create obstructions to Palestinian vehicular and pedestrian traffic. As of March, 2004, the United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), counted 753 checkpoints, roadblocks, gates, trenches and observation towers throughout the West Bank, this despite the completion of Israel's "security" Wall in some parts of the West Bank. Like many of these roadblocks within the West Bank, the roadblocks enclosing Bizzariya serve no clear Israeli security needs. ISM and many human rights groups consider these roadblocks to instead be part of an Israeli government policy of collective punishment aimed at the entire Palestinian people. Collective punishment is a violation of international law.
Bizzariya's residents were joined in the work of removing roadblocks by school children, neighbors from surrounding communities, volunteers from the International Solidarity Movement and from other international solidarity groups supporting non-violent resistance, and by Israeli activists. Farmers used tractors with harrows to smooth down the newly opened road.
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