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Control with no Liability: New Report on Barta

Control with no Liability- New Report on Barta`a enclave

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel released a new report today focusing on the enclave of Barta`a, which is trapped between the separation barrier and the “green line”. Inside the enclave live 5000 people. The medical services, quality of life, economy and education have all suffered because of the fence’s path. Israel ignores its responsibility towards the residents and violates international law.

A resident of 'Araqa, trying to leave the enclave to go back to his village on the Palestinian side of the wall, was arrested by soldiers at the checkpoint. After engaging in a confrontation with the soldiers, he was jailed in an iron cage adjacent to the passage. Several hours later, after his calls to the soldiers were ignored, he removed his belt from his pants and tried to hang himself.

The Barta`a enclave, in the northwestern section of the West Bank, includes the villages of Barta'a al-Sharqia, Um al-Rihan, Daher al-Maleh, Khirbet Abdallah al-Yunis and Khirbet a-Sheikh Sa'ed. The residents’ lives have been severely affected by the path of the wall which separates them from the rest of the West Bank while they remain disconnected from Israel as well- the villages are a “closed military zone”. There is one checkpoint, “Rihan”, through which the residents can leave and enter the enclave. Residents of the West Bank who are not residents of the enclave require a special permit to enter, and over one third of the requests are denied.

Harm to the Medical Services:

After the fence’s construction in the area, the medical teams’ entry was conditioned upon the receipt of a permit from the Israeli Civil Administration, which involves a long application process and protracted waits at the checkpoint, which eventually led to a decrease in their presence in the villages. Moreover, the villages’ clinics lack the medicines and equipment needed for the villagers, and in many cases vaccines do not arrive on time from Jenin due to the long waits at the checkpoint. In both of the clinics in the enclave no doctor is present most of the week and some of the ill prefer to travel to Barta`a al Gharbiya (in Israel) instead of crossing the fence to the West Bank. There is a risk in going past the Green Line without a permit and they have to pay for the medical services. In spite of Israel’s complete control over all aspects of life inside the enclave, it does not supply the residents with the medical treatment denied to them due their being trapped by the separation barrier.

UNRWA’s medical team was recently barred from entering the enclave for over two months, during which time the village's patients who are refugees were forced to travel elsewhere for treatment.

Palestinian ambulances are typically called in from Jenin and are not allowed to enter the enclave without special coordination with the Jenin DCO. Due to the requirement for special coordination of emergency transfer of patients, evacuation sometimes takes several hours or longer, making it difficult to transfer patients urgently to the hospital.

Damage to the quality of life:

Transfer of goods such as food, water, medications, meat products, electronics and agricultural produce into Barta'a enclave requires a special permit. Vehicles on their way to enter and exit the enclave, especially those carrying goods, and vegetables, are required to wait for long periods for security checks. In many cases, residents are forced to discard food that has spoiled as a result of prevention of their passage by the checkpoint's soldiers. The soldiers do not allow cans to be transported into the enclave, claiming that their contents cannot be examined.

A resident arriving at the checkpoint with two slaughtered chickens that he bought in Jenin for his family was surprised to hear from the soldier at the checkpoint that transfer of foods into the enclave was prohibited. The two chickens were taken from him and thrown away. Village residents claim that this happens frequently and that checkpoint soldiers bar any food beyond food for personal consumption from entering the enclave.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel calls for the dismantlement of the enclave which was created because of the path of the separation barrier which is not on the Green Line- in spite of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice from 2004. As long as the enclave exists, passage of medical staff in general, and emergency medical staff in particular, must be allowed without conditioning this passage on coordination and permits, and without delay.

It is upon Israel, who has complete rule over the villages, to supply the residents with their medical and social needs and to compensate them for the harm to their livelihood and health.

To download the report, a map and to view pictures:

http://www.phr.org.il/phr/article.asp?articleid=310&catid=42&pcat=42&lang=ENG

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