Internationals needed to accompany farmers to their land near Karmei Tzur settlement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2 June 2007
This June marks the 40th year since the Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights. On Sunday, June 3, Palestinians from Beit Ummar will attempt to reach their farmland near the illegal Israeli settlement of Karmei Tzur. These Palestinian farmers are calling on international solidarity activists to accompany them to work on their land.
Loi, a resident of Beit Ummar, said that “Palestinian farmers don’t go to this land without the accompaniment of internationals. It’s important for internationals to come so the farmers can reach their land. Recently, Israeli settlers and soldiers uprooted 400 olive trees that we planted on the land.”
The olive tree uprooting occurred on May 7. This land is located next to the fence that surrounds the Karmei Tzur settlement. Settlers often harass Palestinians as they tend to their land. Settlement security has fired at Palestinian farmers in the past. Soldiers have also prevented farming in the past, according to Loi. During the action tomorrow, Loi expects that soldiers and possibly settlers will intervene and try to prevent the farming.
Palestinians will be joined by international activists at 9:00am at the mosque in the center of Beit Ummar. The activity is expected to last until 12:00 noon.
Background (from Palestine Monitor)
Located north of Hebron, Beit Ommar is a small farming village, of about 16,000 Palestinians. In the springtime, its orchards teem with plums, grapes, olives, and apples. But the villagers are facing bleak times, unable to tend to the majority of their crops, let alone export them. They face three difficulties: Israel’s wall, Israel’s settlers, and Israel’s closures.
To the north, the concrete separation wall cuts through Beit Ommar’s land in an east-west line, separating the settlement Gush Etzion from the West Bank. The route of the wall itself confiscates hundreds of dunums, but separates the farmers from thousands of dunams of agriculture lands.
To the south, the settlement of Karme Tzur has been eating away at Beit Ommar’s property for over twenty years. The settlement’s ‘security zone’ continually expands, recently swelling to include a new settlement road. The line of the security zone confiscates forty-five dunums on its own, and again separates farmers from even more of their land. Farmers cannot approach their fields adjacent to the settlement, for fear of attacks from settlers, or threats from the Israeli military that protects them.
For more information, please contact:
Mohammad Awad, 0599-068-427
ISM Media Office, 0599-943-157, 0542-103-657