Last Thursday, December 11, the Occupation Administration gave the Municipality of Habla village, south of Qalqiliya, a new confiscation order with maps outlining the construction of tunnels between Habla and Qalqiliya City.
***image2***According to the maps, the tunnel will extend from the Wallâs southwestern gate of Habla and follow under the Israeli settler by-pass road which connects the settlements Alfe Menashe, inside the Green Line, with Kafar Sava, which is located inside lands of 1948. Thus, while Alfe Menashe is expanding on and confiscating Hablaâs lands, the Palestinians who live there are not even allowed to travel across their own land.
Prior to the Wallâs construction, Alfe Menashe, as well as the Israeli town Metan which edges the Green Line, had already consumed more than half of the villageâs lands. As a result of the Wallâs erection, nearly 4000 more dunums, or about one third of their remaining land, in addition to seven wells, half of the communityâs groundwater well supply, were stolen and isolated behind the Wall. Now, with the new orders and the construction of the tunnels, Habla once again is facing theft of their lands to Israeli bulldozers and annexation. Moreover, while the Wall effectively sealed the community by almost entirely encircling it, this new racist and oppressive tactic by Israel ensures that Palestinians will not be seen in Palestine, as they will be forced to travel underground, rather than across their own lands.
The maps for building the tunnel, which is to be 750 meters long (not even 1 dunum*), were accompanied with confiscation orders for over 400 dunums from Hablaâs lands. 85% of Hablaâs residents are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood and the lands to be stolen contain groves, greenhouses and are cultivated with a variety of vegetables essential to the residentâs sustenance. Currently, if one wishes to travel to and from Habla, they must pass through the military checkpoint to the south by âIzbat Salman. It is unknown what restrictions will be placed on the upcoming tunnels. What is clear is that the village of Habla is facing more land/resource confiscation as well as further conditions of confinement and control under the guise of Israeli âsecurityâ, but by what is more accurately termed racist expulsion.
*1 dunum = 1/4 acre = 1,000 square meters
For more on the impact of the Apartheid Wall on Habla, read the article and testimony in the Campaign book. [PDF 2.3MB]