The main road to Nablus stretches out across the top of the photo. Awarta vehicles are not allowed to pass through the Huwwara checkpoint to go to Nablus.*
Awarta, a Palestinian village of 6,500 people, lies to the east of the infamous Huwwara checkpoint and very close to the Israeli occupation army base. This village had a total of 20,000 dunams or about 5,000 acres. The nearby Israeli settlement of Itamar took 12,000 dunams from the village, leaving the village 8,000 dunams or about 2,000 acres. The illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar occupies the tops of many hills. It is the highest and longest settlement in the
In the early morning, the red roofed houses of the nearby settlement are easy to see.*
The MPTer who visited Awarta with Zakiraya, MPT Palestinian contact, met Qis, the head of the Awarta village council in his office. As in every visit to Palestinians, guests receive several cups of tea, coffee and juice or pop. The ancient desert tradition of warmly welcoming guests is very much honored. Qis gave an overview of the problems of the village.
Qis, the head of the Far'ata Village Council informed the MPTer of the difficult situation of the Far'ata villagers.
Part of Awarta is in area B [Palestinian Authority and Israeli army control] and part in area C [total Israeli occupation army control.] In area C, the northern part of the village, no new building permits are allowed. There is a possibility that a new power station will be build by
Besides no new construction being allowed in Area C, no improvements in the infrastructure can be made. The village council hopes to build a needed road in this area, but fears the military will then destroy it. Many of the farmers in Area C need to work in their olive groves, but the Israeli army will not give them permission to plow or harvest there.
Traveling from Awarta to the nearby villages of Agraba and Yanun was a 10 to 15 minute trip in the past, but now takes more than 40 minutes. The road previously went through Awarta, but now the new direct road is a settler-only road, so villagers take longer round-about side roads. There are some roads that Palestinians can use only when they have permission for farming in an area. Palestinians who used settler-only roads risk arrest. This is all part of the illegal apartheid occupation.
Qis, Awarta Village Council Head, stated that although Muslims have lived in the village more than a thousand years, Israelis settlers come once a month to two holy places in the village, harassing the village with each visit. Qis said there seemed to have been an ancient Hebrew prophet, Abel Aser, who lived in the village. [This area would have been
There is constant harassment by Israeli settlers. In September 2008, settlers burned more than 400 Awarta olive trees.[ See http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/30aced5b563941357762b51f5d06c42f.htm
[Reuters – information from INIR – UN OCHA press.]
Villagers sometimes get permission to plow their land that is near an illegal Israeli settlement. In April 2009, MPTers accompanied a Awarta village farmer plowing his olive groves. After only about 20 minutes of plowing with two hired tractors the Israeli occupying force stopped the plowing. Even though the man had 1947 [before
Qis explained other problems of the village. The Israeli army will allow all West Bank cars to pass through the Huwwara checkpoint to
Qis said that the villagers mainly farm, working in their olive groves, but some work in
MPT’s business card explains well MPT’s mission, but the MPTer emphasized to Qis that a large part of MPT work is educating
[To see a website dedicated to the settlement Itamar click on http://www.friendsofitamar.org/slides.html ]