In Jenin Refugee Camp families are reporting that Israeli forces are denying them the right to properly observe Ramadan. Khalid Zaki told PNN that his family was not allowed to take their Ramadan breakfast at sundown after their day of fasting. Zaki said that Israeli forces are raiding homes deliberately just before the mosque calls the Athan, the time to drink water, eat, and pray.
Another resident, Um Khalil, said that Israeli soldiers surrounded her family’s’ home and stayed for three hours before the pre-dawn mealtime.
She told PNN that Israeli forces detonated explosives in the middle of the night, awakening the household. When the time passed to be able to drink water or eat before the sun rose and the day of fasting began, she asked that the family at least be able to pray. An Israeli soldier responded angrily that "this is not the time for God," the Jenin Camp woman told PNN.
Palestinians are not only facing the economic blockade, but also Israeli forces are arresting those who provide aid. Charitable organizations are being raided and shut down. Thousands of needy families have not received the donations they were relying on for the month.
The economy is paralyzed, merchant Khalid Zaki said. "The reality of our current situation is reflected in the streets. In the past the markets bustle during Ramadan, and we expect it after the holy month for the Eid as well. But this year occupation measures have destroyed the lives of everyone, and in particular, traders. This is not Ramadan."
The President of the northern West Bank Jenin City Chamber of Commerce told PNN, "The commercial trade industry, and general living conditions in the Jenin District have been stricken by a genuine disaster."
He continued, "There is a danger of total collapse and destruction due to the blockade and its affects on all aspects of life. Unemployment rates are high, and thousands of those with jobs have not been paid. Shops and factories are going bankrupt. This holy month of Ramadan, considered the most important for trade, has stagnated."
Another merchant told PNN that this Ramadan season has not exceeded five percent of previous years. Fruits such as apples, bananas, and grapes are now considered luxury items, one merchant commented. The sale of chickens dropped from 400 in a day to just 20.
Fahmi Abu Yousef said that he was not able to provide a meal for his family at the occasion of Ramadan due to his inability to work. "Ramadan makes our situation seem even more difficult. We have accumulated debt after seven months without being paid due to the Israeli blockade. And those charities that are still open, we feel ashamed to go to them."