The people in the village of Beit Surik call upon all organizations and groups to immediately support their resistance to the Apartheid Wall, as they struggle to protect their lands and their livelihood. The people are steadfast in their determination to save their lands and remain in their community, insisting that they will not be transferred and made refugees for the second time. An order from the Occupationâs court last month states that Occupation Forces must stop construction on the Wall in Beit Surik for several months. Now, the people in the village are trying to tend to the lands that were destroyed by Occupation Forces, to salvage what is there and to reclaim wasted lands in the village.
The majority of the people in Beit Surik are refugees from Beit Shinna village, which was destroyed in 1948. At that time, the people were forced to flee to Beit Surik, which at the time was an extension of their agricultural lands. However, in 1967, the Occupation forces confiscated more lands from Beit Surik for what is now called âNo Manâs Landâ. In addition, in the 1970s and 80s, additional Palestinian land was confiscated for settlement construction and expansion.
While many people in the village have maintained their work as farmers over the past years, many have also been forced to look for work on the western side of the Green Line, in addition to maintaining their lands. Also, following the closure imposed on the West Bank in the 90s, people began to rely more heavily on their lands as a main source of income. Figs and plums, together with other crops, were exported from the village to the rest of the West Bank and Jordan. However, after Occupation Forces closed Beit Surikâs main entrance early in the Intifada, residents became unable to market their agricultural products as before, however, continued working in agriculture as it remained the only source of living left to them.
Now, however, the villageâs lands are threatened with destruction or isolation for the Wall. Last February, Occupation bulldozers began destroying lands in Beit Surik for the Wallâs path, but the people in the village confronted the bulldozers with their bodies, sitting in their lands and blocking the bulldozers way. The people in the village successfully stopped the Occupation Bulldozers for some time, now they want to continue their resistance to the Wall by reclaiming every piece of land they have.
Despite their troubled economic situation, the people have already bought trees, built terraces and prepared the lands for plantation in more than one spot. However, the people in the village still lack many of the resources necessary to keep the lands fertile and productive. The people have managed to do some work, however the costs for reclaiming land are high, and they are still in need of essential resources such as irrigation water, agricultural roads and workers to help in building the terraces and ploughing the land. The people of Beit Surik are in need of support to continue their work, to reclaim their lands and to resist the impact of the Apartheid Wall.
The people of Beit Surik are asking for widespread support in their attempt to preserve their lands. They are calling upon all organizations, locally and internationally, to provide the help needed to reclaim what is left of their lands, before the Apartheid Wall destroys everything, leaving the people landless.