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Huwwara - Area C runs through it

The village of Huwwara lies south of Nablus and north of Ramallah.
Two other villages are so near they appear to be part of Huwwara. *

Michigan Peace Team has settled into the village/town of Huwwara, which is located about five miles south of Nablus city. The population of about 5,800 people works mainly in agriculture and commerce. Olive, almond and fig trees are cultivated, but people have also fruit trees near their homes. Huwwara’s location on the main Nablus-Ramallah-Jerusalem road keeps the almost 100 stores busy. There was more than double that number before the construction of Israeli settler roads. One of the main industries is both mechanical and body car repair. One sign near an illegal Israeli settlement forbids settlers to take their cars to these shops which are less expensive.

Huwwara’s location has also been disadvantageous. The Israeli occupation army frequently imposes road closures or flying checkpoints in Huwwara, which stop or delay traffic from one direction or both north and south. The village of Huwwara has experienced army invasions resulting in the blocking off of streets, detrimental to the residents, but also to Palestinians trying to use the highway. MPTers see Israeli military and police jeeps daily in the street and experienced one flying checkpoint in the past week.

Israeli army and border police jeeps are seen daily on the main street of Huwwara.*

Israeli soldiers patrolling in Huwwara near the mosque.*

Residents have suffered from the burning of olive trees and crops by Israel settlers with the intent of annexing land to Yitzhar, the nearby illegal Israeli settlement. In one burning 1000 olive trees and 200 almond trees were destroyed. Yitzahr with over 400 people is particularly harsh in its harassment of nearby Palestinian villagers. Israeli building of roads for easier access to settlements has furthered devastation and confiscation of the agricultural land.

["Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development [... and] have been established in breach of international law." International Court of Justice Ruling, July 9, 2004 All settlements and outposts are illegal under international law and have been condemned by numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions. http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article7]

[For more information on settlements go to the Foundation for Middle East Peace website – www.fmep.org

For an excellent map of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine from FMEP http://www.fmep.org/maps/settlements-population/settlements-established-evacuated-1967-2008-feb-2008/fmep_v18_map_settlements.gif/image_view_fullscreen ]

Just north of Huwwara is the notorious Huwwara checkpoint where Palestinians have been made to wait for hours. Some people have died there because they were denied needed medical assistance. Women have delivered their babies at this checkpoint. To the east of the checkpoint is the Israeli occupying army base and the prison dreaded by Palestinians.

This beautiful hospital is left empty because of a lack of funding for staff.*

One of the major problems for the residents of Huwwara is their inability to have control of the highway that runs through the center of their village/town. According to the Oslo Accords, all Palestine was divided up into three designated areas – Area A – Palestinian Authority (PA) control, Area B – PA and Israeli occupation army control and Area C – Israeli occupation army control. In reality, the Israeli army has control of all of it and goes wherever and whenever it pleases. This highway through the town center is Area C, while the part west of the highway is A and east is B. The Israeli army wants free access to the highway to facilitate the movement of troops and military equipment north and south. So, the town cannot control the speed traveled on their main street/the highway, cannot put in stop signs or stoplights or speed bumps, can not build overpasses for pedestrians, and can not put in sidewalks. The town mayor and council each year seek changes, but none is allowed despite the fact that a number of people in the town or traveling through are killed each year. A settler was involved in one accident. The town is seeking USAID money for work on the highway, but USAID will not help Palestinians with aid in Area C.

Heavy commercial trucks speed through Huwwara. It is difficult to cross
the highway at almost any time of the day.

If cars are parked on the side of the highway, people have to walk on the highway.

In some places there is space to walk, in others not. Safety of Palestinians, particularly children, does not seem to be a concern of the Israeli occupying army.

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