In the northern West Bank, Palestinians are boycotting increased measures of Israeli control on their lives. Although it will be difficult to be trapped, it would be more difficult to obtain Israeli permission to move from one West Bank town to another, even in the case of a hospital emergency.
Before taking strength in the act of nonviolent resistance, east Barta'a residents were living in a state of fear and anxiety from the actions of Israeli forces and the restriction of movement. Most recently in order to move, they must obtain permits and magnetic cards from the Israeli Civil Administration, the occupation government in the West Bank.
This comes after another announcement of the intention to isolate Barta'a completely from the West Bank, despite the official Israeli announcement to temporarily freeze such action.
The new restrictions already are preventing people from passing through a gate which is considered their only link to a world outside the village. Dozens of people were lined up as Israeli soldiers told them they could not move. “From today on we will not allow you to pass the metal gate; by permit and magnetic card only.” An eyewitness told PNN, “When we asked the soldiers why, they said, 'We do not know why we have been given these new instructions. You must take it up with the Civil Administration.” No one could pass and Israeli forces turned every citizen away from the metal gate and back to Barta'a Village.
The process was repeated over the past two days. Each person who continued to attempt it was turned back, even someone with an emergency. Mohammad said, “I reached the barrier to take my son to the hospital in Jenin because he is ill, but the soldiers barred us from passing, disregarding the poor health of my son. Instead they told me to go to the civilian administration in the Salem Military Camp to obtain the documents necessary for passage.” This is to move from the West Bank village of Barta'a to any other West Bank village, town or city.
The Board Chairman of Barta'a, Ghassan, told PNN, “Occupation forces have imposed serious difficulties on the inhabitants of Barta'a over the past five years, and have undertaken to destroy our economy by disallowing commercial movement. Under the guise of security, they have demolished dozens of shops and houses and uprooted hundreds of olive trees, which will culminate in building the Wall. It has been preceded by the metal gate so that we become trapped between the Wall and the gate with soldiers entirely controlling our lives, whether we are allowed to move or bring anything in or out.”
Ghassan said that it is clear that no one will be immune from the prison of their village, including medical cases and students as the card requirement applies to everyone. Town residents are rejecting being forced to deal with the Civil Administration, which records all personal information and is often used in negative ways. “The people also refuse to become more oppressed than they already are,” said Local Council member Tawfiq. “The citizens are boycotting the Civil Administration. It will soon be clear to anyone that takes notice that the conditions of life are deteriorating to the point that the only reason this is happening is to force us to leave our land.”
He said that despite how difficult it will be, the boycott is on, “which means that we are under house arrest until further notice. We will not obtain permission to move or tomorrow they will force us to obtain permission before we marry or have children.”