Israel transforms Jerusalem’s suburbs into a “big prison”

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Concrete blocks are placed by Occupation security forces at the entrances to the Palestinian village of al-Ram, northeast of Jerusalem on November 19, 2014. Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency

By: Mohammed Abdel Fattah

Published Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Perhaps Israeli prisons can not accommodate more Palestinians, and so Israeli authorities have now chosen to imprison Palestinians inside their villages, especially in the suburbs of Jerusalem. That is part of the collective punishment inflicted on villages, whose residents dared to rise up against the occupation and the discriminatory policies it imposes on Palestinians – such as preventing them from praying at al-Aqsa Mosque, repeatedly storming the mosque, and turning a blind eye on violence and murder of Palestinians at the hands of fanatical Israeli settlers.

Occupied Jerusalem – The Israeli response to a village that revolts is to surround it with concrete barriers and military checkpoints, in addition to using weapons of all types and sizes against young demonstrators. Recently, the occupation forces began to seal off the villages of Hay al-Thawri, Sur Baher and al-Ram in the Jerusalem district after a series of protests against the killing of Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, both of whom carried out the recent Knesset operation. Before sealing off these villages, the Israelis encircled and sealed off the village of al-Issawiya, but the concrete barriers were later removed from its entrances following a protest by hundreds of its residents.

Sur Baher, located south of occupied Jerusalem, continues to be closed, hemming in its 27,000 residents. The Israelis tightened the noose around the village by closing its entrances with concrete barriers, leaving only one route for its residents. The people of Sur Baher enter and leave the village through that road, where an Israeli military checkpoint manned by abusive Israeli soldiers regularly mistreat anyone who passes by on foot or in a vehicle. Going in and out of the village presently takes an hour, while Israeli soldiers search every single person from head to toe and search cars from the hood to the trunk.

Students are forced to step out of cars and buses to cross the checkpoint on foot in order to get to school even if that means arriving half an hour late.

The director of the company Sur Baher Buses for Public Transportation, Raafat Nimr, complained that now they have to leave an hour before it is time to pick up students from outside the village to be able to drop them off at school somewhat on time.
He said his and other bus companies have suffered from closing the village and restricting access in and out to one checkpoint as it cut the number of trips buses take from the village in half. This will force the company to close down soon because the cost of “loading passengers increased and there is no longer a large number of trips to make up for it,” he said.

People who do not have a business to take care of outside the village have decide not to leave the village so that they won’t get upset and agitated. For example, Hamza Umaira has not left Sur Baher for a week. Besides, Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint regularly prevent him from going to Jerusalem to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque.

In Hay al-Thawri, where the family of Moataz Hijazi lives, the martyr who carried out the assassination attempt on the life of the extremist rabbi, Yehudah Glick, the situation is as bad as the rest. Like Sur Baher, the Israeli occupation sealed the village twice. The first time after killing Hijazi and the second time after the operation carried out by Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal. The difference with this neighborhood to others is that it has been encircled with concrete barriers without military checkpoints. This prompts people to take bypass roads, delaying workers and students.

The town facing the worst mistreatment is al-Ram, whose closure affects the residents of the nearby Qalandia refugee camp as they go to and from Ramallah and Jerusalem. In addition to closing the northern entrance to the town with concrete blocks, the closure affects the revenue of businesses located along the road to the northern entrance. The Israeli authorities also closed the Jabaa road adjacent to the town, thereby creating a suffocating traffic jam that takes people two hours to get out of.

Just like the average citizen suffers, medical services suffer too. Turning the Palestinian villages surrounding Jerusalem into “large prisons” obstructs ambulances and prevents them from reaching areas where sick and wounded people need to be taken to hospitals.

Palestinian Red Crescent official, Amin Abu Ghazaleh, said that Israeli occupation forces deal with Red Crescent ambulances as though they are part of the young people’s uprising against them, especially after Israeli ambulances refused to enter Arab areas.

He pointed out that Israeli soldiers did not make it easy for ambulances to enter confrontation areas, treat the injured there or transfer them to hospitals. Instead, they refused to remove any barriers, which increases the rate of field medical treatment.

Residents of the villages facing closure believe that this policy will add to the tension in the city because most of their villages lack basic facilities, such as hospitals and markets.

For his part, political analyst, Fadel Tahboub argues that “Israelis do not want to calm the situation down in Jerusalem, so they continue to close villages and settlers continue to storm al-Aqsa Mosque.”

“The goal of the Israeli occupation is to isolate the Palestinian villages from Jerusalem in order to reduce the Arab population in the city, and to pave the way for annexing them to the West Bank at a later time, completely disconnecting them from occupied Jerusalem,” he concluded.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

Please remember, wall also keep people out -

This is episode 1274356 of the ongoing saga - Palestinians suffering at the hands of the Israelis, for the whole world to see ....
Tune in tomorrow for episode 127435 to see what happens next....

"inside their villages"
On Palestinian soil (?)
Their land.
* If The Zionists had begun to purchase the land from each & every Palestinian from day one.
It would have been cheaper & they would most likely own it all today.
Stupid is as stupid does.
The Zionists are DESPERATE & RUNNING OUT OF IDEAS & TIME.
I put this down to them having no capacity for original thought in the first place.
* If the Zionists had embraced & made all the Palestinians citizens of Israel - in friendship via stealth/cunning /guile - they would have had a better chance of owning the whole place by now - the carrot rather than the stick approach.
Stupid is as stupid does.
It is 60 odd years & all that they have achieved for themselves is the loathing of the whole world including those of the Jewish faith.
Does anyone really think that all Jewish people are dumb.
Please, oh please.
The whole wants Israel gone & forgotten & the sooner the better.
It won't be long now.

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