[Alain Ah-Vee, member of Lalit, is participating in Freedom March along the Apartheid Wall.
6 Aug 04
[Tulkarem]Wednesday, August 4th the Freedom March was joined by 30-40 Palestinian women from the Tulkarem area who accompanied the march for part of the route.
Traveling south from Tulkarem, the Freedom March arrived at Jbarra village. Jbarra is a small village that has been completely surrounded by the Apartheid Wall and cut off from the rest of the West Bank. There are only two gates to enter and exit the village; one in the North and one in the South. However, only residents of Jbarra can exit or enter through the gate and only with a permit obtained from the Israeli military. Palestinians in the areas surrounding Jbarra may not enter the village and can not obtain permits. Children as young as one year-old, who are residents of Jbarra village, must obtain a permit to exit and re-enter the village. In addition, any vehicle traveling to and from the village must have a permit to do so.
One year ago the Israeli military allowed only 20 person per day to enter or exit the village. In addition, when the Israeli military imposes closure on the area, which is does often as a form of collective punishment, the village is completely shut off from the rest of the world. In a village that does not have its own school or clinic, that depends on outside markets for goods and services, the Wall and successive closures has imposed intense suffering and devastation on the people of Jabarra. Today children have to be bussed in and out of the village at specific times in order to access their schools outside the village.
The Freedom March participants met with Palestinians from Jbarra and demonstrated with the villagers near the checkpoint.
On Thursday, the Freedom March left from Ar Ras and was joined by group of French nationals working with the Palestine Agriculture Relief Committee, (PARC). Additional Israelis also joined for part of the route.
After traveling through several vilages toward Jayyus the Freedom Marchers were told that Israeli Army had taken a fifteen year-old boy from the village of Falamya. The people from the village came out in force and demanded that the army set the young boy free. According to the young boy and his family, who were interviewed after the incident, he had been detained by the Israeli Army while accompanying his father to their land. The boy was by the water pump, 100 meters from the fence when the Israeli Army detained him. They accused him of "touching the fence" and held him for three hours in the sun with his hands tied behind his back.
The villagers, supported by Internationals and Israelis, threatened to tear down the gate if the boy was not returned. After tense waiting and negotiating the army agreed to release the boy.
Today, Friday August 6, the Freedom March began in Jayyus and will travel south toward Qalqiliya. The marchers are continuing along the path of the Wall and are being followed by the Israeli Army on both sides of the fence. Around 10:40am the Israeli Army attacked from behind the marchers with tear gas and rubber bullets, allegedly when a group of youth behind the March threw stones. Although there are no reports of injuries it is clear the Israeli Army is following the March more closely, even when it turns away from the path of the Wall in order to walk to a village.
The March is traveling toward Qalqilya where they expect to spend the night.