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Reference : V-P-IL-E-02886
Date : 04/03/2016
Caption : West Bank, Azzoun Atmeh village. Instead of the military base, the land has been cleaned, all the remains of concrete, iron and ammunition removed, and the farmers who can now access their land after more than 20 years, are growing zaatar, a Palestinian kind of thyme.
Photographer : MAGDA AND ANDREA
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC/Andrea and Magda
Description : In 2003, the erection of the West Bank Barrier enclaved the entire village of Azzoun Atmeh, in the North of the West Bank. The construction of an additional fence in 2009 completely isolated nine of the village’s families from the rest of their community, and made their freedom of movement the most restricted of all. The latter families, around 70 people, had to go through not only one but two checkpoints every time they exited or entered the village, making visiting relatives or friends or going about everyday tasks a significant enterprise. While the main checkpoint situated at the village’s entrance was open all the time, the one situated at the entrance of the smaller enclave was closed between 9pm and 6am the next day.
In 2015, almost 12 years after the Barrier’s construction, Israeli authorities rerouted the Barrier and dismantled the additional fence, enabling Azzoun Atmeh’s residents to re-discover life without the checkpoints which had divided them and hindered their movements for so long. Though the new path of the barrier still restricts a number of villagers’ access to large parts of their agricultural land, the dismantling was a significant step forward and improved the villagers’ freedom of movement and the community’s social cohesion.
Throughout this time, the ICRC remained in close contact with the community and concerned authorities to solve problems during emergencies or to facilitate access for the Palestine Red Crescent ambulances, health visitors, or persons in need of medical treatment.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 4800x3200
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour