Resisting the Siege with 1,920 Trees in Baqa ash-Sharqiyya

APN | Baqa ash-Sharqiyya – Tulkarm

10 March 2023


The beginning of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of the Green Line, marking the division between territories occupied in 1948 and the remaining historic Palestine, marked a pivotal moment that altered the course of history for numerous agricultural villages and towns. Among them, the residents of western Tulkarm governorate, positioned at a crucial point of contact, embarked on a new phase of resistance through their mere existence. This transformative period extended to the people of Baqa ash-Sharqiyya (East Baqa), who were no exception to the shifting dynamics.

At a certain point, Baqa was one city until the occupation divided it into two, annexing the western side into the territory occupied in 1948. Meanwhile, the eastern part became susceptible to settlement ambitions, particularly considering that the village encompasses 4,000 dunums, with 86% of this land being highly fertile for agriculture.

When APN reached the town of Baqa ash-Sharqiyya, it became apparent how the apartheid wall confined and isolated it from the heart of Tulkarm governorate, a mere 17 km away. To traverse this short distance, residents of Baqa ash-Sharqiyya, as well as those from the towns of Nazlet Issa and Nazlet Abu Nar, and anyone heading to that area, must go through an iron gate controlled by the occupation. This gate opens for just an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, subject to the occupation's mood, and is generally closed, particularly in challenging weather conditions. Palestinians, including patients and those in childbirth, endure hours of waiting without exception.

Given the community's communication with APN and the stark reality of the siege, it became imperative to ensure a reliable food source for the people and safeguard their lands from confiscation, particularly in light of the expansion of the apartheid wall beyond the Green Line. Simultaneously, reducing poverty and unemployment rates among the town's people emerged as another primary objective, considering that incursions, closures, and the presence of the apartheid wall and gate had repercussions on the economic conditions.

Complementing previous tree-planting projects in the village, 1,920 olive, stone fruits, citrus and guava trees were planted in an area covering 70 dunums of the town, as part of the projects allocated to Tulkarm governorate.