Israeli Apartheid Wall Turns Nu'man Village Into
Date: 11 / 03 / 2008 Time: 11:22
NUMAN, WEST BANK, 9 March 2008 (IRIN) -
"With the Wall's route like this we can't go
anywhere," said Yousef al-Darawi, as he drew a map of Israel's Barrier
which blocks Nu'man village off from both East Jerusalem and the West
Bank and leaves it a virtual enclave.
"All people who want to visit have to be on a list at the checkpoint at
the village's entrance," he said, including basic service providers.
Most of the 170 residents have to enter and exit on foot.
Only a handful of residents are allowed to drive in, limiting the import
of goods, while Israeli troops restrict further the amounts of flour,
meat, and vegetables allowed in, according to residents.
"If we bring in a 50kg bag of flour the soldiers open it and check it.
Sometimes the flour gets ruined, or some of it gets lost," Yousef
explained. "We bring in fodder and they spread it out, checking it. It
takes three hours and we lose fodder."
The Israeli human rights group B'tselem said the restrictions "have
paralysed economic life in the village".
A spokesman for the Israeli Border Police did not respond to IRIN
inquiries, but the Israeli government has on many occasions explained
the need for the Barrier, saying it is vital for its security.
After the 1967 occupation, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and gave the
inhabitants Israeli residency, while handing different ID cards to West
Bankers. Nu'man residents were given West Bank status though it was in
Jerusalem, which was a minor issue until Israel's closure regime began
during the 1990s.
Following the outbreak of violence in 2000, movement became more
restricted and the construction of the Barrier led to the establishment
of a checkpoint in 2006 through which all traffic must go.
In 2004 the residents petitioned the Israeli high court, demanding the
Barrier's route change or they be given Jerusalem ID cards and freedom
of movement. Though a committee was supposed to be established to update
their status, nothing has changed, the Israeli rights group B'tselem
said. In 2007 the villagers returned to the court, repeating their
demand; the petition is pending.
Sarit Michaeli, a spokeswoman for B'tselem, said the expansion of the
nearby Israeli settlement of Har Homa, and plans to build more, are a
root cause of the village's problem. Settlements have already taken some
of the village's lands.
"Looking at the reality on the ground is a cause for concern," Michaeli
Israeli work permits
Until 2003 many residents worked in Israel as labourers, though most can
no longer receive Israeli-issued work permits.
Such was the case of Nidal. He worked in Israel for a few years and
saved money to build a house. However, in 2006, Jerusalem Municipality
destroyed the home, saying it was built without a permit.
"I was engaged to a girl from Bethlehem at the time of the demolition,"
Nidal, aged 26, told IRIN from inside the remaining part of the
"The marriage was called off afterwards since we had nowhere to live,"
he added. Without an Israeli work permit he could not afford to rebuild
and has since moved in with his mother.
Locals were outraged by the municipality's demolitions, with one man
asking: "Why have they remembered us after not providing services for 40
In a statement to IRIN, Jerusalem Municipality said: "The matter of
residents who are not residents of Jerusalem is being examined at the
Ministry of Justice and the municipality awaits the Ministry of
Justice's decision on the issue."
More than inconvenient?
Nidal's marriage problems are not uncommon. In general, women from the
village prefer to marry outside and leave, while women from outside the
village are hesitant to marry Nu'man men and bring tight restrictions
During Nu'man's last wedding, in late 2006, the groom, from another
village, was not allowed to enter. The bride walked down to the
checkpoint on her wedding day to meet her husband-to-be and get married.
Residents seeking medical treatment must go through the checkpoint and
then find a taxi to take them to the closest clinic. Similarly, children
generally walk to classes in nearby villages, though some get a ride
from the main road, once they pass the checkpoint.
Sama, a 10-year-old, walks three kilometres to school each day, "in the
rain or the snow or the sun", said her worried father, Jamal.
"Sometimes I have to stay late in school, because I take part in
after-school activities," the young girl said. "And then I have to come
***This item comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and
information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the
United Nations or its agencies. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The information in this article is not compiled by Ma'an reporters.