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Qaryut Roadblock Removed Again

On Friday, November 6, 2009, four MPTers traveled to the village of Qaryut to provide support for the ongoing struggle to remove the road block on a critical access road. Qaryut is home to more than 2000 Palestinians. Their access road provides quick access to Route 60, the main road from Nablus to Ramallah. The inability to use this access adds about 15 miles and 30 minutes onto a trip to either city causing hardships for students, workers and others. Villagers have gathered a number of times to remove the block. MPT was also present on October 3 of this year when villagers successfully removed the roadblock. You can read that blog entry at: http://mptinpalestine.blogspot.com/2009/10/example-of-cooperation-and-courage.html The army returns after each success with heavy equipment and reestablishes the dirt and rock barrier. This day’s event was well organized. More than 200 men and boys and about 10 internationals walked 1.5 miles down the road to the barrier. Soldiers and police backed off toward Route 60 to observe. Many men with hand tools began work on the pile of dirt and the large boulders that blocked the road.

Hard work with only hand tools.

A larger group moved down toward the soldiers and police. Media representatives were present as the group prayed and later danced the Dabke, a traditional Palestinian dance.

Villagers pray as work continues in the background.

Young men dance in celebration.

Soldiers and Palestinians stood in close proximity without incident. At times Red Crescent workers stood between the two groups. Discussion about the wind, which blew from the Palestinian side toward the soldiers, brought a big smile to one Palestinian who said, “Yes, it is a good day.” Such a wind direction would make the use of tear gas problematic for the soldiers.
Face to face without incident.

A loud cheer rose each time a boulder was rolled away. The barrier was successfully removed and two vehicles passed over the remaining mound of dirt. MPT has heard reports that a new barrier was installed by the Israeli forces a day or two later. The entire process was peaceful. Villagers and internationals walked away when the event was over.
It is difficult to justify this road block on the basis of security. There are settlements on many sides of Qaryut. But villagers can still drive the portion of their road which is nearest the settlements. The roadblock would appear to be continued more for the purpose of harassment.

After the demonstration one car uses the road to drive out to Route 60.

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