The Following is the Community Voice of Abu Shaher, the owner of a furniture store on the Ramallah-Jerusalem road in Ar Ram.
If they build the Wall, then they are destroying 90% of the street (the commercial life on the side of the street). As a furniture store owner, I will loose my clients who won؟t be able to reach me, except by making huge efforts; the client will have to pass from the Qalandiya checkpoint and then go around to enter Ar Ram - this is of course if they allow Palestinians from Jerusalem to enter this area at all.
Even if the client can enter, it will be another problem to transport the goods to the clients. Starting from now, the work is already falling back with the destruction they are doing in the street; some of the people I know from outside Ar Ram called me asking if they can still access Ar Ram or not.
Most of our goods come from inside the Green Line [the lands of 1948]; the West Bank is cut into separated parts and it is difficult, even impossible, to have any commercial exchange between the merchants and us in the West Bank. This Wall is an Apartheid Wall that deprives the people of their sources of living and leads to major destruction.
Four workers, two from Hebron and two from Nablus, in addition to me and my nephew, work in this store, and all of us have families that we support ؟ the Wall will destroy our lives. If I have no income, how can I continue employing these workers and how am I going to continue supporting my family? We are six families living from this shop, the least has five or six individuals, this is a big problem and we have no options. Starting from now, the work is so little that we sit here all day doing nothing; the carpenter I have does not work. We have not been working since the people heard about the Wall in Ar Ram, they are hesitating to start anything before knowing what will happen, for months the Wall was a nightmare and now they turned it into reality.
I have a carpentry store in Bir Nabala; today I went looking for a store in Ar Ram where I can transfer my goods. They say the Occupation Forces are planning to close off Bir Nabala and the other western villages [northwest Jerusalem villages], and that they are not going to give them a passageway to Ar Ram, but only to Ramallah directly. Then I have to move my goods from Bir Nabala as soon as possible before they close the road to and from Bir Nabala. I had another furniture store in Eizarya, but I closed it after they closed Ezariya with the Wall. I came to Ar Ram, I had no idea that they are going to close this area too, for the second time I will loose my business.
I do not know what I will do, I do not even know what I am going to do tomorrow, I cannot find a way to go, and plan my life and my family؟s life. They say they want to connect Ar Ram with Ramallah ؟ how good can this be? It is no alternative for me, I am from Jerusalem and I want to stay in Jerusalem. 90% of my clients are from Jerusalem -- Ramallah cannot be a market for me. In the same time, I cannot move my shop to Jerusalem, because I am a Palestinian, and a Palestinian in Jerusalem is chased by the Occupation, threatened with taxes, income and residence taxes, in addition to the hard living conditions the Occupation imposes on Palestinians in the city, all aiming at expulsion.
This road is called Ramallah- Jerusalem road, this means that it links between the two cities. If they separate Jerusalem from Ramallah, this means the destruction of the area in between Ar Ram, Bir Nabala, and Jib, but this is what they are aiming at, they are using the economic destruction to destroy us and force us to leave.
live in Zaim, there they are going to build a Wall too, where am I to go? If they want us to leave, then I leave and go to live in Nazareth in Occupied Palestine from 1948, they destroyed all possibilities for two states, now if I am forced to leave then I will not go live in another Arabic country, no, I will go to live in Nazareth.
What is happening here is a big disaster, I went to South Africa, what is happening here is much worse than what happened there. In South Africa they did not build concrete Walls; here they are putting the Walls between a neighborhood and another. this the worst Apartheid system that has ever existed in history. Their courts are poor when it comes to Palestinians, the court itself is racist, taking its rules from a racist government, the Israeli court will not stop the Wall and they do not take into consideration the humanitarian conditions of Palestinians -- it's the opposite, they are meaning to destroy them.
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