Truth From The Land Of Israel: Collective Punishment at Ein Arik

The [Israeli] soldiers implement their orders to prevent any
movement between the [Palestinian] villages of Dir Ibziyeh and Ein Arik.
For four months now the regular supply of food, medicines and medical
supplies has been disrupted and, in fact, almost totally blocked. The
doctor
who used to come each day from Ramallah stopped coming when he tried to
cross the earthworks to enter the village and soldiers shot at him. Babies
do not receive their vaccinations on time. Pregnant women leave for
Ramallah,
via the hills, two weeks before their due date.

2002.07.03

A’adli Nafa’a has three choices of how to transfer his
mother, a recent amputee, for follow-up treatment at the
government hospital in Ramallah.

For instance, he can call
an ambulance from Ramallah. However, the ambulance,
instead of travelling the seven kilometers (about 3.5 miles)
between the city and Nafa’a’s village, Dir Ibziyeh, will have
to make a detour of about 60 km (30 odd miles) on roads
designated for Israelis only, and that only after exhaustive,
and exhausting, coordination with the army.

The long journey will cost
Nafa’a 400 NIS ($75) round-trip, an unimaginable sum for
someone who has been unemployed for four months.

The second choice is to take the same route that he took on
April 19, when he took his diabetic mother to hospital after
the gangrene in her leg had worsened.

He carried her on
his back and walked through the hills, evading Israeli army
posts, until he reached a village south-east of Dir Ibziya
where he boarded an ambulance that travelled eastwards,
on roads forbidden to Palestinian traffic.

The soldier at Kalandia checkpoint first demanded that he leave the
ambulance and let the medical team travel alone with his
mother. Half an hour of pleading softened the soldier’s
heart and Nafa’a was allowed to accompany his mother,
finally reaching the hospital at five in the afternoon.

They had left home eight hours earlier, at 9:00 a.m.

The third option is to risk being shot at and to approach on
foot – with his mother on his back – the system of deep
trenches, reinforced with banks of earth, large rocks and
barbed wire fencing, that the army has put across the
asphalt road east of the village.

The soldiers implement their orders to prevent any
movement between the villages of Dir Ibziyeh and Ein Arik.

Ein Arik?

The Ein Arik checkpoint was erected in the spring of 2001.
The soldiers supervised the movement of thousands of
people who passed there daily and who were held up there
for hours.

The writer was witness to the fact that soldiers threw
tear gas and shock grenades among these already tense
and stressed out people.

Then what?

A young Palestinian was killed by IDF fire in late January [2002].

Army sources claim that the Palestinian medical team that
treated him was not sufficiently trained and equipped;

Palestinian medical sources state that the treatment for
staunching blood is simple and if it had been given correctly
and in time the incident would not have ended in death.

And then?

Some three weeks later, on the evening of 19 February, 2002,
Palestinians killed six soldiers stationed at the Ein Arik-Dir Ibziya
checkpoint.
That same night, the checkpoint was dismantled.

The next morning, the asphalt was torn up, earthworks and barbed
wire fencing were erected. A total curfew was placed on all the
surrounding villages, especially Dir Ibziya.

After a few days, people began to dare to venture out.
However, villages say that soldiers threw tear gas
grenades into the few shops that tried to open their doors.
The soldiers made it very clear that cars were forbidden to
move around the village.

It seems that the area commanders did not inform the IDF
spokesman that soldiers also forbid the movement of cars
on the streets of the village itself and sometimes even
prevent the movement of pedestrians there. (The writer
herself witnessed such a case on May 24, 2002).

The IDF spokesman states: “The movement of pedestrians and
vehicles is permitted within the boundaries of the village.
This is very serious behavior and disciplinary measures will be taken
against offenders if the complaints are made explicit and
found to be correct.”

And now?

Since then, over four months ago, all traffic in the direction
of Ramallah is forbidden on this, the only direct traffic artery
to Ramallah still available to the twenty-five villages of the
area, with a population of tens of thousands.

Roads passing the near-by illegal Jewish settlements are also forbidden to
Palestinian traffic. The paths connecting the villages
themselves are blocked by earthworks that prevent the
passage of cars.

In this way, thousands of people have
difficulty in reaching their places of work and livelihood.

For four months now the regular supply of food, medicines
and medical supplies has been disrupted and, in fact,
almost totally blocked.

The doctor who used to come each day from Ramallah stopped
coming when he tried to cross the
earthworks to enter the village and soldiers shot at him.

Babies do not receive their vaccinations on time. Pregnant
women leave for Ramallah, via the hills, two weeks before
their due date.

After long and wearing coordination with the Civil
Administration (of the Israeli Army), shipments of food were
twice allowed into Dir Ibziyeh via the Red Cross. The trucks
were forced to use a long and circuitous route.

So?

The IDF spokesman did not answer the
question whether someone from Dir Ibziya or the
surrounding villages had been arrested on suspicion of
murdering the six soldiers. Nor did he answer the question
of how Na’afa was supposed to coordinate the passage of
his mother to a hospital.

The IDF spokesman also failed to
respond to complaints by local residents that what goes on
here is ongoing revenge, collective punishment.

On March 27 2002, soldiers told the writer that “If this was revenge we
would blow up the whole village.”

Author: Amira Hass

News Service: A – I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E : V1 #939

URL: http://www.ainfos.ca/