The village of Al Funduq, 15km from Qalqilia, is today under curfew. For the first time in the history of the village the 700 residents are forbidden from entering the streets, driving cars, and are subject to random house searches.
Following the shooting of an Israeli settler at 11pm on Monday 19th November, Israeli soldiers have imposed the curfew, which is tantamount to collective punishment. Eathmound roadblocks have been installed on two of the main roads out of the village, preventing travel to neighbouring villages of Hajja and Tulkarm. The main road through the village – road 55 connecting Qalqilia to Nablus – remains open but only to Israeli vehicles. Soldier patrols and flying checkpoints ensure no Palestinians are able to use this road.
The curfew came as a surprise to the residents, many of whom have been left stranded without food. One resident was forced to take the risk of violating the curfew to travel to a nearby village in order to obtain milk for his children, as all shops in Al Funduq have been forced to close. A doctor attempting to travel through Al Funduq to attend an emergency in Jinsafut was denied entry and told to go home by Israeli soldiers.
Soldiers are claiming that the curfew is necessary to secure the area following the shooting. However, soldiers have admitted to village residents that they know the shooter was not from Al Funduq, a village noted for its peaceful coexistence with settlers, many of whom come to the village to do their shopping. The car allegedly used by the shooter has been found, and determined to not belong to anyone residing in Al Funduq. Soldiers, however, in a testament to ridiculousness, claim that the villagers should have prevented the shooting from taking place, thus insinuating that the villagers are somehow responsible for this action.
To the contrary, two of the village residents came across the scene of the incident last night, mistaking it for a car accident, and attempted to help. Upon realising the life-threatening condition of the injured settler, they proceeded to call an ambulance, however the settler later died.
At 4pm, a convoy of Israeli settlers entered the village from the direction of the Qedummim settlement, and proceded to construct a makeshift roadblock from materials they found on the side of the road. Angry at being photographed, they attempted to intimidate Human Rights Workers in the vicinity. Numbers of settlers swelled, preventing the passage of Israeli vehicles along the arterial road. Soldiers and police entered the scene shortly after, but did nothing to disperse the aggressive settlers, nor even to remove the roadblocks. Indeed, it was Israeli motorists themselves who got out of their cars to clear the roadway. With the roadblocks gone, settlers then positioned themselves in the middle of the road, stopping lorries and hence the flow of traffic.
As their protest continued unabated, Israeli settlers then took their rage to the property of the Palestinians, smashing shops and houses inside which resided trapped villagers – all under the unchallenging gaze of the Israeli soldiers and police. It was only after night fell and the local council turned off the street lights that settlers moved their rampage from the heart of the village up to the major highway intersection on the village outskirts, between Al Funduq and Jinsafut.
At least 6 other villages in the Qalqilia district are also under curfew, including Kafr Laqif, Jinsafut, Haja, Baqa Al Hatab, Immatin and Kafr Qaddum.