15 June 2011 | International Solidarity Movement
On June 14th 2011 a Beit Ommar farmer reported that he was “ordered” to leave his farm land by an armed security guard from the adjacent Karmei Tzur settlement. The guard apparently used a dog to drive the farmer and his family from the land. Settlers had also recently set fire to the wheat harvest on the same farmland. The farmland borders a large separation fence, behind which there is further farmland and the settlement.
On June 18th the farmer, his family, some villagers, Israelis, and internationals returned to the land to farm and harvest grape leaves. The armed guard arrived and called the army who came in three trucks with an additional police truck. Approximately 15 soldiers entered the farmer’s land from the settlement through a gate in the fence. The soldiers told the farmer he could not farm his land, claiming it was a closed military zone. Following interaction with the Israeli protesters, the commander then changed his order so that the farmer and the villagers were permitted to farm, so long as the Israeli and internationals remained 150m away. The villagers completed their farming, while the Isrealis and internationals waited. They all returned to the village after harvesting. The farmer will continue to farm his land.
Beit Ommar is located to the south of Hebron. The “security fence” was built around the settlement about five years ago. The fence encircles the Karmei Tzur settlement , but also encompasses a significant amount of village land. This farm is outside the settlement fence but has experienced problems from the settlers in recent months.