Israeli army locks out farmers

Farmers in the West Bank village of Jayous are facing further hardship following a decision by the Israeli army to close a gate giving them access to their land.

    The aparthied wall is cutting deep into Palestinian land

    Around 20 farmers were informed by soldiers earlier today that the south gate through Israel's wall would be closed indefinitely. The move could effect 250 farmers in the village.

    A Jayous resident told Aljazeera.net that villagers' movements have been severely restricted. "The army placed nine metal stakes in the road leading to the south gate in the separation wall and strung rows of razor wire around these stakes creating a barrier," he said.

    Local people said that soldiers told them that the gate would be locked indefinitely because children had damaged it by throwing stones and attempting to cut it.

    "I asked the soldier when the gate would be opened. He told me to forget it, and that from now on the gate would be locked," said one farmer.

    Israel has defended the building of the wall, which reaches 8m high in parts and is bordered by trenches, despite UN criticism of its route.

    Hardship

    Mohammad Sahaminh is a farmer living in Jayous. He said the closure of the gate would have a massive impact on him and his family.

    "I asked the soldier when the gate would be opened. He told me to forget it, and that from now on the gate would be locked"

    Jayous resident

    "

    All my land is accessible through the south gate. Right now there is no way that I can get to my land and I have no idea what I will do if the gate isn't opened very soon.''

    Sahaminh said that for weeks Israeli soldiers have been entering the village at night firing into the air, firing tear-gas and letting off sound bombs near homes.

    "We don't know why they come to the village, but they make lots of trouble and threaten to shoot us. A few soldiers told a shop keeper that if the children didn't stop damaging the gate, they will return to the village and shoot some of us.''

     

    Background

    Jayous village has 3000 inhabitants - 70% are totally dependent on agriculture, while the rest are partially dependent. At least 300 families in Jayous will lose their only source of living and are facing poverty and hardship.

    Some 72% of Jayous’s lands have been confiscated and will fall behind the apartheid wall, separating farmers from their land. 

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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