20 September 2016: The Closing of Beit Ommar
For the past five days, the Israeli occupation forces have closed off the main entrance of Beit Ommar. Deploying soldiers, army jeeps, roadblocks, barbed wire, and tire spikes, they are now seemingly reinforcing the existing military tower and building a new construction, the purpose of which is currently unknown. They do not allow anyone to come close to the obstruction, and threaten anyone who dares to do so.
The effects of this blockade are significant. The inhabitants of Beit Ommar must now take alternative, longer roads to leave or enter the town. Palestinians and internationals looking to visit or do business in Beit Ommar are scared away by the big army presence. And local farmers and merchants are less capable to moving their products in and out of the village.
There is no concrete information as to when the blockade will be lifted. So far, it has been paired with economic struggle, as is obstructs trade and the freedom of movement. It is important to mention that the current roadblock coincides with the annual grape harvest, which Beit Ommar is famous for throughout the West Bank. In this period, local farmers depend on selling their grapes outside the village, a business that has now been made harder by the Israeli obstruction of the village’s entrance.