Earlier today, Occupation bulldozers started razing the lands in Deir Ballut village, west Salfit. If completed, the Apartheid Wall will surround Deir Ballut, together with the villages of Zawiya and Rafat, from all sides. The people of Deir Ballut will then be isolated from Salfit district, from their lands and from their workplaces, many of which are located west of the Green Line in Kufur Qassem Village, which was occupied in 1948. Not only will the mere presence of the Apartheid Wall confiscate hundreds of dunums of Deir Ballutâs lands, but it will also result in the isolation of 80% of the villageâs lands on the other side of the Wall.
Before 1948, the villageâs total land area was about 40,000 dunums. However, after the Nakba in 1948, almost half of the villageâs lands were occupied, while another 4000 dunums were confiscated as âstate landsâ. Further, Occupation Forces confiscated an additional 1200 dunums of Deir Ballutâs land to build a settler road and now, a new settlement is planned on the villageâs lands, which would mean the confiscation of 12,000 more dunums. The Apartheid Wall will surround the village, along with Zawiya and Rafat, in order to annex the two settlements of Peduel and Ale Zahav as well as tens of thousands of dunums of the three villageâs lands (including the lands for the new settlement).
If the Apartheid Wall is constructed, then only the built up area in Deir Ballut will be left for the village, which is only about 720 dunums. Last March, the village received confiscation orders and maps showing that the 317 dunums of land that were confiscated and where the Occupation bulldozers started working today are designated for a section of the Wall that will surround the village from the west and north. Another section of the Wall is planned to go around the village from the south and east, isolating 2750 dunums of land in the area of âMarj Deir Ballut,â which is located on the eastern side of the village.
Moreover, fifteen houses which are now isolated behind a military checkpoint (which was put at the entrance of Deir Ballut at the beginning of the Intifada) will be isolated from the rest of the village on the other side of the Wall. Already, even before the Wall comes between these houses and the village, the people suffer from isolation as Occupation soldiers deny entry to the area for anyone who is not a resident of the 15 houses. In addition, the residents of these homes must endure the Occupationâs humiliating measures and harassment at the checkpoint each time they want to reach to the rest of the village, or to reach their lands.