A farmer who lives in a neighborhood where thousands of his neighbours have been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank is now worried that if the country’s leaders decide to continue their campaign to kill Palestinian farmers, he will be unable to buy what he has grown for generations.
The farmers, who fear a possible military operation, are worried that the country will begin to close in on the area and it could be impossible for them to buy their produce.
The fear is palpable among them, said Zeev Yitzhak, a farmer who runs a small market in the village of Khudar.
He said he does not know if the farmers are allowed to plant crops for their families.
“We are afraid, we are afraid of the Israeli army,” he said.
The Israeli government, in recent weeks, has started to take steps to restrict the sale of agricultural produce to Palestinians in the West Bank.
The restrictions were made public on Wednesday after Israel announced that the government will open all markets in the country, which was already banned from selling food and other goods to Palestinians.
The restrictions are in addition to other measures the Israeli government has taken to restrict Palestinian movement.
It has begun to block Palestinian roads, stop construction in settlements and even shut down Palestinian businesses.
The moves have alarmed the Palestinian leadership in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which has called for an end to the restrictions and called on the international community to condemn them.
“This is an unprecedented measure, the first time since 1967 that the Israeli authorities have opened a market for Palestinian farmers,” Palestinian Minister of Agriculture and Food Sami Abu Zuhri told reporters in the Israeli city of Ramallah on Thursday.
“It’s the first step toward shutting the market in a way that could be dangerous,” he added.
The minister, who also heads the Palestinian Agricultural Trade Union, also called for a boycott of the country.
“I call on the world and the international communities to condemn this measure, and I call on those responsible to stop these measures,” Abu Zumri said.
Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian markets come as the country prepares to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel in 1948.
The move came as Israel plans to hold a state ceremony to mark the 70-year anniversary of its founding on Friday, with the aim of marking its achievements and its “historical memory” and the country as a nation that “has built a future for the Jewish people.”
The Israeli economy has boomed in recent years, with a surge in exports, as well as in tourism and a surge of investment, which have made Israel a key economic partner of the U.S., Britain and Germany.
But a recent government study has found that Israeli farmers have suffered from “severe malnutrition and other severe nutritional problems” in recent decades due to the military occupation.
Israeli farmers rely heavily on grain exports, and the restrictions have caused shortages in grain that have pushed prices to near record lows.
Abu Zuhria said the restrictions are a violation of international law and will “result in the loss of our livelihoods and the destruction of the economic foundations of our people.”
He also called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel to denounce the measures.
“I call for an immediate end to these measures, and an end of the siege that Israel has imposed on the West Wall,” Abu Shuhri said in a statement.
“If the world can not do something to help us, then our only hope is that the international and regional communities will do something.”
The announcement of restrictions comes as the Israeli military has been conducting a massive military offensive on the Palestinian side of the Golan Heights, targeting positions held by Palestinian militants and villages that have been occupied since 1967.
The army has also demolished homes and demolished some Palestinian infrastructure.
In recent weeks it has also moved to restrict movement of Palestinians through the Israeli-controlled Golan.
Israel has said it is targeting militants in the area because of their “provocative actions” against Israelis.
Israeli authorities also have said they want to halt attacks against Israel.