Monday, January 19, 2009

Petting the donkey or seam zone watch

5.30 a.m. Susan and I are heading to the Agricultural Gate. I is supposed to be open at 6. The farmers already gathered and are waiting to be able to cross for a few hours to their land that they have been working on for generations. After the Separation Barrier was built that land is not theirs anymore and is located now in the so called Seam Zone (see explanations below). They need special permits to be able to access it. Even that is many times denied to them, the gate is open with a delay of sometimes even a few hours.

Photo: Waiting for the gate to be open. Farmers make fire to keep warm.

Photo: Soldiers open the gate with a delay

Photo: Gate is open. Now the permits will be carefully checked.

Photo: Permits that need to be shown. This time only few farmers are allowed to pass due to West Bank closure imposed because of Gaza war.

Some explanations (source UNOCHA):

  • SEAM ZONE - the area that lies between the Barrier and the Green Line in the northern
    West Bank, which was declared closed by Israeli military order in 2003.
    Palestinians now require permits to either live in or access this area and
    passage is permitted only through designated gates in the Barrier.
  • GREEN LINE - the 1949 Armistice Line, which serves as the internationally recognized
    boundary between Israel and the West Bank.
  • SEPARATION BARRIER - a complex series of concrete walls, electronic fences, observation towers, trenches, patrol roads and razor wire constructed by Israel around and in the West Bank. Upon completion, the Barrier will isolate some 9.5% of the West
    Bank, including East Jerusalem, while physically connecting it to Israel. In
    July 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the route of the Barrier
    that lies in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem—some 90% of
    the route—is illegal

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