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February 13, 2004 - Image 33

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-02-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Shreem's property rests along the
edges of the concrete wall that stretches
for 1.8 miles on the western side of
Kalkilya. He says army officials told
him he can no longer use the six acres
closest to the fence. If he does not
remove them, he says he was told, the
army will demolish the greenhouses
because they are too close to the wall.
Israeli officials did not reply specifi-
cally to Shreem's claim, but Israel has
said it will compensate Palestinians
whose property is destroyed or expro-
priated because of the fence project.
Some Palestinians have sought and
received compensation, while others
have resisted, Israeli officials say.
Shreem, for example, has refused to
request compensation because receiving
it would mean signing away his right to
the land. "That is something I will
never do," he says.
In Kfar Sabatity of about 80,000
where the first Jewish settlers planted
citrus groves and harvested almonds
and peanuts, most residents today work
in hi-tech or commerce. Many com-
mute to jobs in nearby Tel Aviv. About
10 percent of the city's population con-
sists of immigrants from the former
Soviet Union or Ethiopia.
It's a homey city with ice cream shops
and a city hall of white stucco and dark
wood that dates back 100 years, when
it was a Turkish inn. Residents are fond
of their city, praising the culture and
good schools.
Kfar Saba has not been attacked as
much as other Israeli cities that border
the West Bank, such as Netanya or
Jerusalem. But in March 2002, a
Palestinian gunman opened fire across
from a Kfar Saba high school, critically
wounding an 18-year-old student and
wounding 16 others. On Nov. 4, 2002,
a suicide bomber came to the city's
main mall but was stymied by a security
guard who asked to check his bag. The
Security Measures
bomber detonated his explosives, killing
Farmers like Shreem who have land
himself and the guard.
beyond the Kalkilya fence must receive
Miri Horvitz, a cosmetics saleswoman
special permits to visit their property.
at the mall, was there the day of the
Shreem also has land in Habla, and he
pulls out a green, folded document
"If the fence brings us quiet, then I
from the Israeli army stating that he is a
it's the best thing," she says. "I
farmer with produce in the area and has
now, more relaxed."
permission to travel there.
becomes subdued when she
But for the past three days he has not
the aftermath of the mall
been able to go to Habla, he says,
attack. "I was scared to leave the house
because the army closed the Kalkilya
exit for what he heard were security rea- for a long time," she says.
Her daughter Hila, 24, shares her
sons. Shreem surveys the flock of
fear. Only now after a two-
Damascus sheep that, in pre-intifada
has Hila returned to riding
days, he would export to Israel and the
Persian Gulf states for a hefty profit. He
also has rows of cedar, kumquat and
For more "On The Fence," log on to
olive-tree saplings bordering his green-

ty," she says.
With a population of 40,000,
Kalkilya serves as a center for surround-
ing Palestinian towns and villages. It has
the main hospital in the area, and many
of the teachers for area schools live in
Kalkilya. Many residents work as shop-
keepers or in agriculture.
Unemployment has soared, partly
because of Israeli limits on the number
of Palestinian workers allowed into
Israel since the intifada began.
Kalkilya is a Palestinian hub for citrus
fruit, boasting vast groves of orange and
lemon trees, as Kfar Saba did before its
rapid development in recent decades.
Nicknamed the "City of Orange Gold,"
Kalkilya's fortunes have suffered because
of intifada violence, which has limited
the transport of produce to Israel and
In August 2002, Israel's Cabinet
approved the first stage of the security
fence, including the area around
Kalkilya near Israel's narrow waist. The
plans made Kalkilya and neighboring
Palestinian villages of Habla and Ras
Atiya into enclaves enclosed by the
According to B'Tselem, the decision
to enclose the three Palestinian towns
was made in part to appease pressure
from nearby Jewish towns in the West
Bank to be included on the Israeli side
of the fence. Although Habla, for exam-
ple, is only 218 yards from Kalkilya, the
fence construction means that residents
of one area will have to drive about
seven miles to reach the other.
There is a gate between Kalkilya and
Habla for farmers to use, but residents
say it is opened only sporadically.
Construction reportedly is under way
on an underground passage between
Kalkilya and Habla to ease the fence's
impact on Palestinians.

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