Soldiers, Settlers Prevent Palestinian Farmers from Working in Possible Bid to Annex Land


Monday, 30 May 2011 05:31 Ahmad Jaradat, Alternative Information Center (AIC)

This is a particularly important time in the agricultural cycle. Yet in these crucial days Israeli soldiers have prevented farmers from the Safa and Beit Ummar villages from farming their land near the settlement of Bat Ayin, to the north of the villages, claiming the area is a ‘closed military zone’.


Palestinian residents of Beit Ummar and Safa fear that recent settler attacks and ‘closed military zone’ orders on their farmland are a prelude to land confiscation for the nearby settlement of Bat Ayin, pictures above 

This rich agricultural area, called Wad Abu El-Rish, is home to olive trees and grave vines, owned by numerous farmers from both Safa and Beit Ummar.


In the past several days, settlers have cut down 20 olive trees and 20 grape vines in Wad Abu El-Rish. The owner of the destroyed trees, Hammad Solaibi, reports that “if the soldiers continue preventing us from going to our land we will lose the season of grapes, which is a primary source of income. Last year settlers cut dozens of trees down in the area and now they did the same.”


Local village sources told the Alternative Information Center they fear that recent settler attacks and the Israeli military declaration of the area as a closed military zone are paving the way for annexing this area to the Bat Ayin settlement.


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