JENIN, January 19, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli authorities Monday handed an order to stop the construction of a park in the village of Barta’a, to the west of Jenin in the West Bank, as a prelude to demolish it, according to local sources.
Locals said an Israeli army force accompanied by staff from the Israeli Construction Authority broke into the village. The force informed Barta’a Cooperation Society, a local charity, of an order to demolish the park, currently under construction, whose building was undertaken by the Society.
Bahaa Kabaha, a local photographer, told WAFA it was the third time the Israeli army ordered the construction of the aforementioned park to stop, recalling a series of violations against the village by Israel, including denial of construction permits, night raids on vulnerable homes, and mass arrests.
Barta’a was divided into two parts in 1949 after the Armistice Agreement was signed between the armies of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt; the two parts were Barta’a al-Gharbiya (West Barta’a), under Israeli rule, and Barta’a al- Sharkiya (East Barta’a), under Jordanian custody.
In 2001, when the late Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon decided to build the segregation barrier, the two parts of Barta’a were left stranded behind the barrier. Despite of this, residents of East Barta’a who still hold the Palestinian Authority’s identity cards are not allowed to enter Israel unless having a valid permit.
On the other side of the border, residents of Barta’a have to pass through a permanent checkpoint, which now serves as a major crossing point, in order to reach nearby villages and towns in the West Bank.