Closing the road for Palestinians and annexation of Palestinian land
Nabi Saleh follow-up
Two days after the meeting in Nabi Saleh we returned to the closed section of the road. The road terminates in a yellow bar blocking the entrance to Beitillu. We contacted people in the municipality who drove to the barrier and crossed on foot to speak with us. They told us of the problems caused by the closure - reaching their lands, getting to work, to school. The entire fabric of life has been upended since the closure. The entry road to Bitilu is blocked as punishment for the murder committed by a Palestinian from a different village.
We then drove to the new neighborhood of Halamish (Neve Tzuf). This time we were able to speak with the settlers and interview their spokesperson. She speaks pleasantly, not aggressively. She’s convinced the land belongs to Neve Tzuf. She says the area where the prefabs have been erected is located within the settlement’s borders and includes the land up to Tzofit College, east of Halamish, on the way to the Atara settlement. They need the additional area. They expect the Palestinians to limit themselves to the area of their village. She claimed they’re located within the settlement’s municipal area; we checked and she’s correct. The government expropriated extensive surrounding lands and defined them as part of the settlement. We asked how the fact they’ve expanded beyond the fence is consistent with their security concerns, particularly after the attack. She replied that the army and police are doing their job and protecting them and that in the future the fence will also encompass them. A previous terror incident is mentioned from October, 2016, in which some 20 buildings in the village were burned down. Though no Palestinian was accused she doesn’t hesitate to blame the Palestinian neighbors. When she was asked how Palestinians from Nabi Saleh could now reach Beitillu, she replied that they’ll manage like they’ve been doing for the past two weeks, since the road was closed. She noted there’s a road from Deir Nizam to this road, but they’ll have to find an alternative since it’s close to the settlement’s houses. Later we saw that the road was blocked by a mound of earth and there’s no access from Deir Nizam.