Palestine : This is how the town of Hawwara in the West Bank is slowly dying amid the continuing war on Gaza Palestine : This is how the town of Hawwara in the West Bank is slowly dying amid the continuing war on Gaza

Palestine : This is how the town of Hawwara in the West Bank is slowly dying amid the continuing war on Gaza

Palestine : This is how the town of Hawwara in the West Bank is slowly dying amid the continuing war on Gaza

In light of the continuing devastating war waged by the Israeli occupation army on Gaza, the town of Huwwara, located on a main road in the occupied West Bank and overlooked by Jewish settlements, is paying a heavy price that is summed up in the words of its residents.

The town of Huwwara, located on a main road in the occupied West Bank and overlooked by Jewish settlements, is paying a heavy price as a result of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

Nidal Jabour sadly sums up the reality of the town, saying, “The matter is over in Hawara there is no future for this city,” adding to Agence France-Presse in front of the butcher shop he owns, that Hawara is “dying slowly.”

Jabour's store is located on Road No. 60, which traverses the occupied West Bank from north to south, dividing the town with a population of seven thousand people into two parts.

Like nearly 500 other merchants along this road, Jabour was forced to close his shop after last October 7, based on the orders of the Israeli occupation army, which also prevented access to the town.

The army justified the decision to close the crossings with the attack launched by the Palestinian resistance on the aforementioned date, but also with previous “violent incidents” between the residents of Huwwara and the settlers who live on the surrounding hills.

A lifeline

Stores were allowed to open gradually after three months of closure. But work is no longer going as it used to be.

Passing customers, who are Palestinians from the West Bank as well as Israelis, and who constitute the backbone of the local economy, no longer come, as they are prevented by Israeli checkpoints that still impede passage, or because of fear of violence. Traffic has been diverted away from the town since the completion of construction of the bypass road at the end of 2023.

“Sittin Street is a lifeline,” says Mayor Jihad Odeh, detailing a map of the town hanging in his office.

He confirms that closing shops and blocking the road has led to the “collapse of social and economic life,” enumerating the daily difficulties that residents experience. The trip to the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank, which is only a few kilometers away from Huwara, may take several hours.

Farmers are no longer able to care for their orchards and fields, while many residents have lost their work permits in Israel.

Jamila Hamdan (74 years old) says, “The situation in Hawara has become bad.” The farmer, who was wearing a traditional dress and grazing her sheep near her house, told Agence France-Presse: “Day after day, the situation is getting worse.”

The woman, who has 12 sons and daughters, expresses her fear of attacks by settlers who "come down from the hills to shout at us and throw stones at us."

Frequent violence

Some of the settlements overlooking Huwara, such as Yitzhar, are among the most extreme in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967. All settlements are considered illegal under international law.

In the West Bank, which has witnessed an increase in violence over the past two years, at least four Israelis were killed last year in attacks carried out by Palestinians in Huwwara, followed by retaliatory campaigns by settlers.

In February 2023, after two brothers from the Har Bracha settlement were shot dead inside their car, hundreds of settlers stormed Hawara, destroyed stores, burned dozens of cars, and terrorized residents.

These incidents remain fresh in the minds of the town's residents, including mechanic Moataz Qasrawi, whose completely charred cars are still parked behind his workshop.

He told Agence France-Presse: “Some of the cars belonged to them. They were here to repair them,” referring to the settlers, given that Huwwara mechanics have a good reputation, according to him, and are “the cheapest in the region.”

As for Hakim Odeh, a Palestinian who lives in Canada and returns every two or three years to see his family in Hawara, he says: “The situation is worse every time I come. The settlements are expanding, and they take over more land every time.”

Likewise, Bashar Al-Damidi, in his thirties, who returned to Hawara a year ago after eight years in Dubai, says: “I no longer sleep. Almost every evening, settlers come to sing and dance under our windows.”

For its part, the occupation army denies accusations of not taking action to deter settlers, and says that “soldiers who monitor violations of the law by Israelis, especially acts of violence against Palestinians, are required to take action to stop them,” according to Agence France-Presse.

The Israeli war on the Gaza Strip left tens of thousands of civilian victims, most of them children and women, a humanitarian catastrophe, massive destruction of infrastructure, and a famine that began to afflict a number of areas, leading to Tel Aviv being brought before the International Court of Justice on charges of “genocide.”​​​​​​

Israeli Channel 12, citing Israeli security sources, said that there was an unprecedented wave of warnings about the possibility of armed attacks in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.

4 Comments

  1. These incidents remain fresh in the minds of the town's residents, including mechanic Moataz Qasrawi, whose completely charred cars are still parked behind his workshop.

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