***image1***In 1982, the Occupation government established the “Elon Moreh” settlement on the lands of Deir Al Hatab, Salem, and Azmout villages, to the east of Nablus city. The establishment of the settlement created a difficult political and social situation for the Palestinian villages in the area.
The settlement started with a small number of housing units. During the Oslo period, the settlement expanded to include large industrial areas built at the expense of Palestinian land.
With the beginning of the current Intifada the situation in the villages near the settlements worsened. Occupation forces physically separated the villages around Nablus city, and the district became cut into four or five separate sections.
Salem and Deir Al Hatab villages are now separated from their lands by the settler road from Elon Moreh, which cannot be used or even crossed by the people of these villages.
With the harvesting season starting this month the farmers in Salem village are trying to reach their farms by crossing this settler road, and the Occupation forces are preventing them from walking along road or crossing to the other side where their lands are. The farmers are usually beaten and arrested when caught trying to cross the highway, as well as if found in their lands, with both the Occupation soldiers and the settlers working in conjuction. One young farmer, Abd Alhakam Yunis Hamdan from the village was beaten and arrested when he and his family were trying to cross the highway to reach their farm to clear weeds from the fields.
Moreover, the settlers have declared a war of terror on shepherds, preventing the shepherds from taking their goats to graze. The settlers harass and beat the people, often stealing their livestock. Settler gangs in both Itamar and Elon Moreh work together in attacking the farmers and stealing their goats. The settlers in Itamar steal the goats of the people in Biet Dajan, while the settlers in Elon Moreh steal the goats from the farmers in Deir Al Hatab and Salem. Both groups of settlers then exchange between them what they have stolen.
Another settler outpost was built on the northern parts of Beit Dajan village. Five settlers are living in caravans, and use the village lands to graze their sheep which are mostly stolen from the people.
Almost daily Occupation forces stop Palestinian vehicles travelling on the Settler road, arresting the drivers. The Occupation soldiers shoot at any Palestinian who is walking along, or trying to cross the road. Eight people from Salem alone have been shot dead on that road, or at the checkpoint.
In Beit Furik, the same situation applies, the settlers of Itamar are preventing the people from reaching their lands or grazing their sheep, villagers are often attacked and beaten. Settlers are also not allowing any Palestinians to reach the eastern springs in the village.
Last week the Occupation forces started digging a 3 meter deep, 7 meter wide trench that will isolate the villages of Salem and Dier Al Hatab from the settler road. This trench will also separate the people from 3000 dunums of their land, as well as from the other villages to the east and from Nablus city.