Trapped by the Apartheid Wall and watching towers.
Maryam Barakat is a Palestinian farmer living in the West Bank struggle for living. She and her children depend on her home garden as main source for living while her husband is in Israeli prison.
“My husband was arrested by Israeli forces while seeking work in Jerusalem. He was jailed for six months and got released end of March 2013” Maryam Barakat explains.
Maryam is living in Nabi Samuil village , northwest Jerusalem, which is located in the Area C of West Bank. Maryam and her husband have five children and one of them has a type of physical disability known as “Cerebral Palsy”.
“During that period my home garden was the sole source for our life. We eat from its products and sell some to cover our daily expenses,” Maryam tells.
Maryam’s family are living inside Israel. Their suffering started in 2007 when Israeli Authorities expanded the Apartheid Wall, which enclaves the village within the Israeli side of the Wall and their Palestinian IDs remains.
Because of the wall they are separated from their land and relatives in the West Bank despite that they are considered to be living under the Israeli control; they are not allowed to enter Israel. The Israeli street is in front of them but they are forbidden from accessing it for any purpose. They are monitored by cameras 24 hours 7 days a week, which is installed on the watching towers. If they try to access the street they will be jailed for six months. Thus, they are allowed to stay in their homes only.
The wall is between them and west bank and this is why they need to cross the Israeli checkpoint in order to accesses WB. There are only two busses that transport to and from the village on specific times
The Israeli Authorities gave each family in the village a special code to cross the Israeli checkpoint to the West Bank. They are allowed to carry their food needs only for one day.
If they are carrying more than that they are allowed to, they have to get into a long process of coordination, which start with local council who coordinates with Palestinian liaison to get the final approval or rejection from the Israelis.
50 new home gardens established
To meet those challenges, Qatannah Association for Development & Strengthening (QADAS) implemented an emergency project to support livelihood of vulnerable communities in the north-west of Jerusalem Governorate, which is under the full Israeli control. OADAS is working in partnership with Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA)
QADAS established 50 new home gardens with drip irrigation systems and with seeds and seedlings covering about 25,000 sqm. In addition they distributed 150 beehives including necessary protection clothes to 50 rural families. Also QADAS conducted 380 theoretical and practical training hours for home gardens management, beekeeping, home and management of agricultural cisterns and income assets for 630 trainees.
In October 2012, QADAS were also able to help Maryam, and established together her a home garden by planting vegetables and trees and extended water pipes with water tank for irrigation.
“This land belongs to my grand grandfathers. I don’t have any other place to live so I will not leave my land and my home” Maryam’s husband (Abu Walid) stated.
QADAS is one of eight partners of Norwegian people’s Aid under Emergency Agriculture Program. This program is supported by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During 2012, 2040 households dependent on agriculture and fishing have improved their household income and are better able to sustain themselves.