Tomorrow, Tuesday, a request will be submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court that Bil’in lands will be included in the appeal by the neighboring village of Harbata against the confiscation of the villages’ lands for the separation wall.
As Bil’in residents above the age of 14 are not allowed to enter Israel, even in order to attend a court session so crucial for them, the children of Bil’in will go to Jerusalem alone – to demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court when the request is being made. Internationals and Israelis will attend the court session in support of Bil’in’s children. The deliberation will start at 9:00 am and the demonstration will start at 8:30 in front of the court.
Following this Friday’s morning prayer, residents of Bil’in, internationals, and Israelis will once again protest the building of the annexation barrier.
Despite indications of reviving the `road map’ which requires a freeze on Israeli settlement growth, the route of the Wall near Bil’in hasbeen specifically designed to incorporate future expansion of Modiin elit.
In 1991, 1,300 dunam of agricultural land used for regional crops were confiscated by the state of Israel for the construction of Kiryat Sefer settlement, but 200 dunam of olive trees remained in Palestinian hands. The basis for the confiscation of Bil’in’s agricultural land was based on an Ottoman-era land law, still being used in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which states that land unused for over a certain period of time can be confiscated by the state. Bil’in residents claim the photos of the land which were presented to the court when the confiscation was approved were taken in the summer.
In 2003, the state claimed that the 200 unconfiscated dunam had been sold to the settlers by Bil’in resident Sami Bornat. The Bornat ownership papers were forged, a fact well known by the Israeli authorities because they had previously recognized the owners of the land in the court case for the confiscation. Despite this, the land was approved for building the settlement.
Now Bil’in will lose an additional 1000 Dunams behind the Wall. The planned route of the Wall comes four meters from the last house in the village.