By closing the vital road between Jenin and Nablus, in the northern West Bank, and isolating neighborhoods and areas in Cyrenaica and the surrounding villages, the occupation seeks to impose a new phase and policy on the land by reviving the evacuated Homesh settlement, and extending settlements to new areas and roads.
Video duration 02 minutes 53 seconds
Nablus- The life of the Palestinian teacher, Ruba Seif, is not stable these days. After she prepared herself and her children and went to her school, taking advantage of a gap in the road between her home in the besieged Al-Masoudia neighborhood in the village of Barqa near Nablus in the northern West Bank, her husband called her, warning that the Israeli occupation army had closed the road again.
And with it plastered in one of the neighborhoods of Cyrenaica, the residents of “Al-Masoudia” are living a collective punishment, and their suffering has been exacerbated for 40 days by the closure of its main and secondary roads, after the killing of an Israeli settler in a commando operation in mid-December last near the entrance to the “Homash” settlement perched on village lands.
Our arrival at the Masoudiya entrance coincided with the return of the teacher, Seif, from school, as she and her children got off the vehicle and hit a two-meter-high stone berm that blocked the road and prevented them from reaching the house a few meters away.
After thinking, the mother decided to park her car and cut the road on foot, and Saif told Al Jazeera Net, as she crossed the military barrier holding the hand of her little boy Hamza for fear of him falling, that the Israeli soldiers, after discovering a side hole made by the people to facilitate their passage, came and closed the road with concrete cubes, and before that they installed an iron gate.
She added, “This is the fifth closure of Al-Masoudiah Road in a month, and this has exacerbated our suffering, and we have started to feel isolated, as life is going on outside and we are under siege.”
Seif tried to find a temporary solution for her children to continue their studies, whether by staying overnight with their relatives inside the village, by transferring them from one vehicle to another, or by walking, despite the difficult weather conditions and the danger of settlers. She says that she cannot stop her teaching work, as well as her children, especially “Yafa”, a high school student, which is the case for many students in the neighborhood.
We asked Yaffa and Hamza, the teacher’s two sons, about their suffering, and they said that they live in anxiety and fear not only from closing the road, but also from settlers attacking their homes and the bypass roads they use.
In the Al-Masoudiya neighborhood, 12 families live, numbering more than 60 people. The occupation does not care about their suffering and the suffering of dozens of farmers around them. “They are carrying out higher orders,” his soldiers say.
For a moment, we thought that Moussa Idais, 41, a resident of Al-Masoudia, was more fortunate than the teacher Seif’s family. An outlet, but digging trenches to cut off all roads. And near the berm, Idais Jarrarah cornered, “before events became tense due to the movement of soldiers and settlers across the main street.”
Ideis says that the closure prevented him from marketing his dairy and cheese products, or bringing food to his sheep. While we were talking with Idais, the occupation soldiers raided us and asked why we were there. Idais told them that closing the area would harm them. The soldiers responded that this was to prevent settlers from infiltrating Homesh.
This is denied by Idais and the residents, and they say that the settlers use all the mountainous and bypass roads and across the main street, under the protection of the army as well, and that the closure aims to punish and restrict them for being Palestinians.
Since the settler was killed more than a month ago, Barqa has turned into a military barracks for the occupation army, and into a target for settlers who attacked more than 30 homes in repeated attacks. Meanwhile, the occupation soldiers continued to storm the village, launch arrest campaigns in it, and close its secondary roads between neighborhoods or that link them to neighboring villages.
In the western neighborhood of Cyrenaica, the son of the village, Fadi Hajja, and other citizens constantly face the violence of the occupation army and settlers together. We were unable to get out of the vehicle to meet Hajjah in front of his house, as the soldiers are deployed in large numbers and set up military checkpoints, so we called him and he told us that they are always living in fear and anxiety. The occupation measures also limited their movement, and they used unpaved bypass roads to move around. “I surrounded my house with an iron fence to ward off settler attacks,” he said.
Not far from the neighborhood, 3 schools in the village of Barqa stand defying the measures of the occupation and its settlers, and Hajjah – who works as the director of one of them – is trying to maintain the safety of the students in all ways, “more than 700 students are in the constant targeting of soldiers during the confrontations,” Hajjah says.
Also inside the village
As for the citizens inside the village, they are not more fortunate. Some of them left their house near the settlement of Homesh and moved to live with relatives such as Ahmed Abu Omar, who left his workshop to repair vehicles after closing the road leading to it. He tells Al Jazeera Net that the occupation army closed the roads around his workshop and declared it a “military zone.”
Meanwhile, the neighboring villages, especially Bazaria, Sebastia and Naqoura, are also experiencing double suffering. The road linking the cities of Nablus and Jenin in the northern West Bank passes close to it, especially the area between the settlements of Homesh and Shavei Shomron, which extends for about 10 kilometers and is inflamed by events due to the closures of the occupation army and its racist practices against citizens.
With his eyes, Bilal Kayed, from the town of Sebastia, in his sixties, monitors the provocations of the occupation soldiers and the settlers’ arrogance. His house is adjacent to Shavei Shomron settlement and the main street, and there he sells corn “cobs” in a simple tin shop.
He tells Al Jazeera Net that he is facing a lack of Palestinian pedestrians due to the closure of the road, and that settlers attacked his house and assaulted him and his family, and the army demolished his facility 5 times.
In the face of these measures, Diab Masoud, an activist against settlements in the village of Burqa, confirms that the occupation, by closing a vital and important street (Jenin-Nablus Street) and isolating neighborhoods and areas in Burqa and the surrounding villages, seeks to impose a new phase and policy on the ground, entitled the revival of the settlement of Homesh, but it extends to other areas that were Always a target.
Masoud tells Al Jazeera Net that the occupation tried in 1975, 1998 and 2010 to settle in the Al-Masoudi neighborhood and failed, and now it is playing the ball again by providing facilities to the settlers and turning the public street that is the lifeline of the Palestinians into the “Street of Death”.