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BBC News Front Page | World | In Depth | Israel and the Palestinians
Voices of Conflict
Sleiman Shimlawi: West Bank farmer
Efrat Gamlieli: Jerusalem resident
Nidhal: Youth on the Gaza Strip
Asher Susser: Israeli academic
Nakhle Beshara: Doctor in Nazareth
Gilad Ben Nun: Israeli peace activist
Paul Adams: BBC correspondent
David Wilder: Jewish settler in Hebron
Ghada Karmi: Palestinian academic
Sleiman Shimlawi
Sleiman Mahmoud Shimlawi is a 42-year-old Palestinian farmer in the West Bank village of Haris. A father of six, he farms olives and cotton. Haris is dominated by the Jewish settlement and industrial zone of Barqan and nearby Ariel - one of the biggest settlement blocks in the West Bank. Sleiman told BBC News Online how the current crisis has affected his life.

On a day-to-day basis, I and all the people who live here are in a terrible situation. We live in a village surrounded by settlements. It has no entrances or exits that we control. We are told that we are forbidden to build. They are still pulling down trees and preventing people from getting to their produce. The harvest is in the fields, but we are unable to go and collect it. I can't even go to the olive press.

The closure is not just a military closure. It is a closure that is demanded by the settlers who control this part of the West Bank. The settlers have more power here than the Israeli Government. There is a contradiction. They say they want peace and want us to work for them, but they are also shooting at us and killing us.

The closure affects us economically and practically and symbolically. It sends a message that the Israelis can do what they want, when they want to. They can go to their work and take their produce to market, where as our produce is rotting and people are losing money. Apart from the trouble we get from settlers, the shops are closed. People can't get to them to open them and they can't get stock.

The settlement has taken more than 10,000 hectares from Haris that they have built on. And there is an industrial zone and a main road leading to the settlement, all taken from the village. We have no relations with them, except for a few young men who work in the industrial zone.

We can't live under the closure for more than three or four days. We'll run out of food. We've got people who are injured or ill in the village. No medics can get to them and the people can't get to the hospitals.

I am like anyone else, like the people who live in this village, like any Palestinian. What drove us to launch this intifada is their attack on us, on our holy places and land and on our children. It was a gradual thing that built up. We are also prevented from moving from one place to the next. It got to the point where it exploded. This is not the first time and it won't be the last.

The only way out of this is for the Israelis to withdraw from our towns and villages and for the settlers who weigh so heavy on us to be sent away. Then we have our leaders. The Palestinian Authority and the dear leader Abu Ammar (Yasser Arafat), he needs to agree with the Israelis on the peace. But the peace agreements that have been signed, the Israelis are not implementing.

The closure affects us economically and practically and symbolically. It sends a message that the Israelis can do what they, want when they want to
In Arabic
real 28k
Farm produce
We can't live under the closure for more than three or four days. We'll run out of food
In Arabic
real 28k
Women and soldier
What drove us to launch this intifada is their attack on us, on our holy places and land and on our children. It was a gradual thing that built up
In Arabic
real 28k
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