Israeli Forces Seal off Ramallah Village for 12 Days

RAMALLAH, December 15, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces continued to close the main eastern entrance of Aboud village, northwest of Ramallah, for the 12th consecutive day, said a municipal source.

WAFA reported on Head of Aboud Local Council Youssef Mass‘ad saying Israeli forces have been closing the main entrance of the village for 12 days in a row.

Mass‘ad denounced the ongoing closure of the village entrance and said it is “part of the Israeli occupation authorities’ policy of collective punishment against the villagers”, who are forced to take difficult alternative detours in order to reach their universities, colleges and work in Ramallah.

Last Saturday, Israeli forces suppressed a rally organized by hundreds of Aboud villagers to protest the prolonged closure of the main entrance.

Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters at protestors to disperse them, causing several to suffer from excessive tear gas inhalation.

Protestors held placards reading ‘No to the policy of collective punishment’, ‘We have the right to free movement as other people’ and ‘Christmas means peace, not closure.’ protesters raised the flag of Palestine and chanted ‘free Palestine.”

Massʻad said the village has become a big prison, that is closed from all sides.

The detour road that passes through the nearby villages of Beit Rima and Nabi Saleh is occasionally inaccessible as Israeli forces close the metal gate at the entrance of Nabi Saleh.

Massʻad added that other alternative routes leading to the nearby village of Shuqba, west of the village, is very difficult to travel through.

“Given this, we have decided to protest at the entrance of Aboud in order to convey our message to the whole world that the Israeli occupation has been hindering local development and denying patients from accessing healthcare services at Aboud medical centers,” Massʻad added.

Massʻad noted that the local council has lodged protest letters to several foreign embassies in cooperation with the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem and called upon human rights organizations to intervene and urge Israel to remove the earth mounds blocking the main entrance.

The village entrance has been closed with earth mounds for a week following the killing of a 27-year-old Palestinian local.

Abed al-Rahman al-Barghouthi was shot dead on Friday December 4th, after he allegedly stabbed an Israeli soldier at the village entrance.

However, eyewitnesses said al-Barghouthi was heading back to his house in the village following a visit to his fiancée’s house in the nearby village of Deir Ghassaneh.

He was dropped off by a public taxi near the village entrance, where clashes were taking place between local youths and Israeli forces.

Al-Barghothi was ordered by soldiers to show his identity card, when soldiers opened fire at him, hitting him in the neck and head with over six bullets, causing his immediate death,’ said Husni al-Barghouthi, Abdel al-Rahman’s uncle, who refuted the Israeli allegations.

The uncle claimed Israeli soldiers ‘planted a knife beside his body.’

Aboud is one of the Palestinian villages, with a balanced Muslim and Christian population who live in harmony. The village is renowned for its many churches and monasteries, including the Orthodox Church dating back to the Byzantine era.