On Tuesday three members of MPT visited Mas-ha, a village of 2,500 people thirty minutes southwest of
A view of Mas-ha from the top of the mosque's minaret
Mas-ha is a village surrounded on three sides by Israeli settlements/the Separation Wall and on one side by an Israeli-only road. Before the second intifada, Mas-ha was a thriving market town with a direct road into Tel Aviv, where Israelis and Palestinians coexisted and conducted daily business with one another. Every week Palestinian merchants traveled to Mas-ha where Israeli customers could buy Palestinian-made products at a lower price than in
Three settlements border Mas-ha (El Kana, Ezz Efraim and Sha'ari Tekva) erected on land confiscated from local Mas-ha residents and neighboring villagers. The road Israel has built to connect these two settlements is not a direct route but rather snakes around two large hills composed of Mas-ha olive groves. Furthermore,
Military vehicle driving by as we stand near the Separation Barrier.
The final leg of our tour involved visiting on Palestinian family’s home that is completely surrounded by the Separation Wall. To the left of the house is the Elqana settlement and to the right is a series of four gates that separate Mas-ha from the house. This house, once a part of Mas-ha, became isolated in 2003 with the construction of the Separation Wall. The children are not able to play in their own front yard because of the daily footprint sweeps conducted by the military, and because of the electric fence/Separation Barrier around their home. Initially the family was not allowed to have any visitors or leave the house as they were under constant curfew. Today there is a locked gate under 24 hour surveillance, which the family and the military have a key too, although members of the family are often harassed or questioned if they have visitors or arrive home late at night. The family has been offered large amounts of money for their land from the Israeli government, but nonviolently resist the occupation by remaining in their home.
The house is completely surrounded by the Wall, which at some parts is concrete, and at other parts is electric fence. You can see Elqana settlement just behind the house. The family that lives here can only enter/exit through this locked door.
Elqana settlement just on the other side of the Wall from Mas-ha.
While visiting in Mas-ha MPT learned about the struggle that Palestinians go through in order to visit their family outside
Palestinians must apply for permission from
Palestinian pride still holds strong in Mas-ha
MPTers also met one young Palestinian man who is studying in the