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Over the last five years about 50 people — more than 16% of the village’s population — have left Nabi Samwil because of the difficult conditions, according to resident Mohammed Barakat, a lawyer who heads the Palestinian chapter of Disabled without Borders.
Ramesh Rajasingham, OCHA’s senior humanitarian official for the West Bank, said that Israel’s actions in Nabi Samwil were not atypical of wider patterns in Area C. “You will find other communities in Area C where building has become very difficult, whether it is residential or for education,” he said. “We do have instances of classrooms being demolished in some areas.”
The deputy spokesman of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Paul Hirschson, said that in Area C Israel is merely implementing the 1993 Oslo Agreement. Israel “has the obligation to implement law and order on the security and civilian levels in Area C,” he said.
Hirschson blamed the Palestinians for the continuation of what was designed by Oslo to be an interim arrangement for Area C since they had, in his view, shunned Israeli invitations to return to peace negotiations.
“The Palestinians signed on to a system in which Israel grants the building permits in Area C,” Hirschson said. “If they want to change that, the way to do so is by coming back to negotiations.”
Nabi Samwil residents, meanwhile, are convinced that Israel wants the area empty of Palestinians. “They want us to leave this place,” said Eid Barakat, the farmer.
Contact Ben Lynfield at firstname.lastname@example.org