Forcing Transfer in Izbat at-Tabib
by the ISM Media Crew
Izbat at-Tabib, Qalqilya district
The Palestinian village of Izbat at-Tabib is situated a few kilometers east of Qalqilya and north-west of the town of Azzun, between the large illegal Israeli settlements of Alfe Menashe and Ma’ale Shomeron, in Area C. The majority of the village residents are refugees from 1948, from the destroyed Palestinian village of Tabsur, which is now the Israeli city of Raanana, located approximately 20 kms from Izbat at-Tabib. The first house was built by the Tabib family in the 1920’s on their land and later the village developed after Nakba (1948), when other members of the Tabib family fled from Tabsur. Some of the 226 Izbat at-Tabib residents are from other families and approximately two-thirds of the 226 inhabitants are children. Currently there are no medical services or schools in the village.
The Israeli occupation and illegal confiscation of Palestinian lands for the purpose of the Apartheid Wall, Israeli settlements and settler-only roads are having a grave impact on the village of Izbat at-Tabib.
Denial of Building Permits
The Israeli policy of denying building permits is wide spread in the West Bank. Despite the fact that the Izbat at-Tabib is well established, the Israeli government claims that the village and surrounding area is only agricultural land. Since 1991, inhabitants have been applying for building permits for new homes, house additions, barns and service buildings since 1991, but their applications have been denied by the Israeli government. There are approximately 40 homes in the village. Some of the residents live in corrugated iron and cement block homes, while others live in crowded homes. Because Israel refuses to issue building permits, they are unable to build a house with a cement roof or expand their existing homes.
The village has suffered grave consequences from the construction of the Israeli Apartheid Wall, which is illegally built well inside the 1967-green line to annex the illegal Israeli settlements to Israel. The sections of wall affecting the village began in 2002 and were completed at the end of 2003. With the construction of the Apartheid Wall the village has lost 250 dunnums from one section of the wall and 20 dunnums from another section of the wall. For many families in Izbat at-Tabib, the loss of access to their lands has resulted in severe economic hardship as they depend on the olive harvest and other crops for their livelihood. Many olive trees have been uprooted in order to build the wall in the area. Up to this point in time, two families have been forced to move because the Wall has taken away their means of livelihood in Izbat at-Tabib. The village has taken their illegal land confiscation case to the Supreme Court and the decision was granted in favor of the village in 2005. In 2006, they were supposed to be given access to a portion of their confiscated land once the route of the wall is re-located, but the construction of the new section of the wall has not yet been built.
Demolition Orders and Settler Roads
The existing settler-only road has cut right into the agricultural land of Izbat at-Tabib resulting in the loss of 15 dunnums. The Israeli government is threatening Izbat at-Tabib with home demolitions and is trying to force the illegal transfer of village residents to the neighboring town of Azzun, in order to clear an area for the new settler-only road. On March 1, 2007, the village received official documentation indicating the details of the plan for the new settler-only road cutting right through several homes in the village, as well as eviction notices for many families in the village. A total of 21 demolition orders have been issued for homes and barns, as well as the two-story service centre (kindergarden and clinic) still under construction.
Military Incursions, House Raids and Checkpoints
The residents of Izbat at-Tabib are currently experiencing daily incursions by the Israeli Army, one to six military vehicles (jeeps and/or hummers) patrolling the village and sitting in their vehicles on the edge of it. During several incursions, boys have been taken from the village by the army, on occasion have been beaten, and then returned to the village after two to nine hours. On April 13, 2007 the level of harassment from the Israeli Army increased in the village. After 8:00pm, the Israeli Army entered the village, imposed a curfew and established checkpoints around the village, preventing anyone from entering or exiting. Seventeen houses, nearly half of the houses in the village were raided and forced outside. In many houses, the army damaged the contents. Twenty-five men and fifteen boys, some as young as four or five years old, were forced to line up with hands behind their backs for one to two hours facing a wall off the main road of the village. The reason they gave the army gave for the incursion was a complaint by a settler that stones were thrown on to the main road. The men were told the village would be punished for any rock throwing, regardless of who was responsible.
The Israeli Army has a history of destruction in the village. The road behind the village, leading to the village of ‘Isla, has been dug up twice. The village was finally granted a permit to rebuild the road within the last two years.
In response to the threat of further violent incursions and home demolition orders in Izbat at-Tabib, the mayor, Bayan Tabib, on behalf of the village council, has invited international solidarity activists to establish a presence in the village. A small house has been set up for internationals to live in during their stay.