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Experience life under Israel's stifling occupation

Screenshot of the Invisible Wall project created by Israeli rights group, B'Tselem
Screenshot of the Invisible Wall project created by Israeli rights group, B'Tselem

Ever wanted to walk through a village in the occupied West Bank to see what life is like for those living under Israel's illegal occupation? Israeli rights group B'Tselem has launched The Invisible Wall project to allow people to do just that.

Based on the testimonies of local residents, B'Tselem set up a website to show what life is like in Burqah, a village in the Ramallah District.

The group said it chose the village based on the fact that it does not take centre stage in the fight against the occupation and therefore has not been subjected to extreme punitive measures; it is simply an occupied village.

It endures severe travel restrictions which isolate it from its surroundings. It is also subject to massive land-grabs and stifling planning, all of which have turned it into a derelict, crowded and backward village with half its population living at or below the poverty line.

The main road between Burqah and Ramallah was closed early on in the Second Intifada which erupted in 2000. The drive from the village to the nearby city is now a 45 minute journey instead of one which took only a few minutes prior to the closure. This has not only stifled the villagers' access to the city, but also their job prospects and their ability to access medical centres, government offices, higher education institutions and leisure facilities.

As a result of the closures and the extensive land grabs which have been committed to allow Israel to build and expand illegal settlements on Burqah's land, villagers have been forced to live in overcrowded conditions in what remains of their village.

The Israeli authorities always put the interests of the settlers and the settlements before those of the Palestinian population. Although the settlements are unlawful in themselves, Israel allocates a great deal of resources to developing them and protecting their residents, while doing everything in its power to block Palestinian development.

Israel's occupation of the village and surrounding area has meant "the economic situation is grim". According to B'Tselem: "At least half of village families with five or more members – about 75% of the total population – earn a sum that is just at or even below what is considered the deep poverty line in the West Bank."

You can experience the occupation of Burqah here.

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