Thursday, August 19, 2010

Barriers Rise Between Ramadan Gatherings

By Mel Frykberg

"AZZUN ATMA, Occupied Northern West Bank, Aug 19, 2010 (IPS) - For seven years Majda Abdul Qader Sheikh, 38, has not been allowed to visit the home of her parents, just a few hundred metres from her house.

"I tried to get a special visitor's permit for a quick visit during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan but I was refused," says Sheikh, mother of seven children. "I have had no problems with the Israeli authorities, nor am I considered a security threat," she added.

Sheikh is not trying to leave the West Bank or even travel to another city. Instead she is trying to access another part of the Palestinian village Azzun Atma where she lives with her husband and children.

This agricultural village of 2,000 residents falls in Qalqilia district in the northern West Bank. It is one of more than 50 Palestinian communities, comprising 35,000 people, trapped in a "seam zone" and surrounded by Israeli settlements on three sides.

The seam zone is located between the Green Line (GL) -- Israel's internationally recognised border with the West Bank -- and Israel's separation barrier, supposedly built for "security reasons" in 2003. The barrier, comprising fences, ditches and walls, veers off the GL and cuts deeply into Palestinian territory......"

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