Home Occupation 11/January/2022 07:06 PM

Israeli rights center brings to light the policy of collective punishment Israel implements in the West Bank

Israeli rights center brings to light the policy of collective punishment Israel implements in the West Bank
An iron gate closing one of the roads to Deir Nizam. (Photo credit: B'Tselem)

JERUSALEM, Tuesday, January 11, 2022 (WAFA) – A number of tweets by the Israeli human rights center B'Tselem brought to light the policy of collective punishment Israel implements against Palestinians in the occupied territories. This is what B'Tselem wrote about the situation of the village of Deir Nizam, near Ramallah:

For more than a month now, the village of Deir Nizam, home to over 1,000 people, has been on lockdown. On 1 December 2021, the Israeli military blocked off the four entrances to the village: two were locked by iron gates the military had erected several years ago, a third was raked by military bulldozers to prevent vehicle passage, and at a fourth, the main entrance to the village, the military set up a checkpoint with soldiers slowly checking each of the passers-by and disrupting the lives of anyone trying to enter or leave the village. The village has been closed ever since. No official reason was given to the residents, except for casual statements by soldiers stating that the closure was due to stone-throwing at nearby Route 465.

In a testimony he gave B'Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, Bilal Tamimi, 32, head of the local council, recounted:

"Once again, we found ourselves under a strict lockdown. And once again, the residents' lives were disrupted.

"The lockdown has implications for village life at different levels: the economy, commerce, health, education, social life, agriculture, and even on the residents' moods and the general atmosphere in the village. It's no secret that due to the repeated lockdowns and harassment we're exposed to – military incursions, house raids, arrests and confiscation of property – many residents are thinking of leaving the village and moving closer to their jobs, just to get rid of all these disruptions. In practice, migration has already taken place over the past few years. Nearly 35 families, numbering more than 100 people, have left the village. It happened to me, too. I had to leave the village, and today, I'm cut off from the community I was connected to, from where I was born and raised."

"If you ask me why the military is taking these steps, my answer would be, 'I don't know.' They don't explain anything to us or present us with any official decision – not even through the Palestinian DCO. All the information I have came to me unofficially or by chance.

"For example, on Friday, 3 December 2021, I was on my way to visit my family in the village, and soldiers detained me at the checkpoint. There were two vehicles in front of me that the soldiers forbade to pass – probably because they weren't from the village.

"When I asked the soldiers, 'why are you putting the village under lockdown?' One of them answered me explicitly, 'Because kids are throwing stones at the road.' And when I asked him, 'Does this justify punishing the whole village?' He didn't answer me."

T.R.

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