Qalqiliya — Israeli bulldozers, accompanied with three military jeeps along with armed guards of the Israeli construction companies, began bulldozing 50 dunums of lands along the eastern side of the Qalqiliya Wall for its so-called “buffer zone”. Among the destruction were vegetables crops and water pipes. The buffer zone of this portion of the Wall will be 50 meters wide and run the length of 2 kilometers.
The decision to restart the work in the area was sudden and with no notification as very few people among the landowners were present upon the arrival of the bulldozers. The last time the bulldozers arrived inside this part of the city was some 6 months ago. The building of the Wall itself, a massive construct of some 8 meters in height, took place nearly one year ago.
According to Kayed Atta, one of the nearby inhabitants, the bulldozers came in the morning while he was on his land in the western side of the Wall; he went and informed the land owners, the governorate, and the municipality. Hassan Kharouf, one of the land owners who has already lost about 70 dunums of his land for the construction of the concrete Wall, is about to lose an additional 70 dunums. According to Kharouf some six months ago the farmers in Qalqiliya received a “warning” by the Israeli “Civil Administration” office based in the settlement of Kedumim to evacuate their lands. They were informed today by the Israeli authorities that they have two weeks to remove their greenhouses, before the bulldozers themselves destroy them. The lands threatened belong to some forty families, including Assad Attallah, Fahmi abd Assallam, Ibrahim Youssef, and Khalil Albaz.
The Israeli Occupation Forces declared the area a “closed military zone” in order to coerce the farmers and the media to leave, but the farmers refused to leave and managed, with the assistance of international activists, to build a tent where they will be staying to protect their lands.
This latest Israeli offensive coincides with Sharon’s declaration of his government’s interest to “transfer control” to the Palestinian Authority of the two Palestinian cities of Qalqiliya and Jericho.