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Trees for peace along a settler-only road

ISM PRESS RELEASE ON UPCOMING ACTION — A week of nonviolent resistance in the besieged West Bank city of Nablus and surrounding areas will continue Sunday, July 24 when ISM volunteers and Israeli peace activists travel to the village of Salem to assist locals in planting trees on the land separated from the village by a road only settlers are allowed to use.

Salem is a farming village, population 5,000, to the east of Nablus. Since the start of this Intifada, Salem and its neighboring villages Asmut and Deir Al Hatab have been closed from Nablus town to the west and Beit Furik to the southeast by ditches several kilometers in length, at points 3 meters deep and 5 meters wide. At times sewage from the settlement floods part of the land and prevents people crossing the fields. The road across is controlled by a part time checkpoint. On 18th July ISMers were present when soldiers at the part time checkpoint shot a man crossing the field.

Elon More settlement has confiscated much of the land belonging to these farming villages. The land still nominally belonging to the Palestinians is subject to severe restrictions by the Israeli army, who only allow the people to work their land on a few specified days.

Earlier this year a further 85 dunums of land was taken from Deir Al Hatab, which has now lost all of its land up to 30m from the last house. Officially Israel says the land is taken for “security of the military base” rather than settlement expansion but the base is only there for the expanding settlement.

Elon More settlers have a history of making violent attacks on Palestinians. In April this year a group of 40 Elon More settlers were rounded up by soldiers in Al Bidan Valley. Another group set light to a large area of olive grove.

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