HEBRON, Tuesday, May 24, 2022 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today erected watchtowers at the entrances of Khirbet Qalqas neighborhood in the southern Hebron city, according to WAFA correspondent.
He said that Israeli soldiers set up watchtowers at the entrances of the village just a day following the installation of metal gates.
Located 4 kilometers to the south of Salfit city, Khirbet Qalqas has a population of some 3,000 and occupies a total area of 7,000 dunams. Israel controls 96 percent of the neighborhood land, classified as Area C.
Israel has seized at least 1,000 dunams (14 percent) belonging to the village and blocked the road linking the village with the rest of Hebron city since 2000. Ever since, residents have had to cross the settler-only by-pass road Route 60 on foot or travel an alternative route to reach the rest of the city. Six Palestinians have been killed crossing Route 60 in recent years.
Describing life in the neighborhood, which has been turned into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by colonial settlements and military installations, the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem that “Closing off vehicular access to Route 60 from the neighborhood has primarily harmed weaker segments of the population, such as individuals who need medical care in the city (including some 20 who suffer from kidney failure and cancer), and those who cannot afford the cost of taking the bypass route. That said, the blocked access road keeps all residents of Khirbet Qalqas from leading a normal routine and makes every excursion out of the neighborhood an exhausting and sometimes perilous journey.”
“In one fell swoop, Israel’s actions cut off the neighborhood and its residents from the city on which they heavily rely, making their lives unbearable. Ordinary day-to-day activities have become a matter for considerable deliberation, and many prefer to forgo them in order to avoid the considerable hassle involved. The situation in Khirbet Qalqas is yet another example of what it means to live under occupation, with Israel abusing its power to make decisions that drastically change residents’ lives without so much as consulting them. This reality will continue as long as the occupation continues.”