Izbat At-Tabib is located east of Qalqiliya, and owes its name to one of its first inhabitants, Hamad Abdullah At-Tabib, who built a house for his wife there in 1920. However, he comes originally from Khirbet Azzun or Tabassur, which was occupied in 1948. The village sits atop a hill overlooking the main road between Qalqiliya and Nablus, two kilometers west of the village Azzun. Its overall area is 125 dunums, with about 270 inhabitants, mostly refugees from 1948.
The village grew after its founding in 1920 by Hamad At-Tabib — by 1948 there were six houses in the area, which made up the village until 1967. Prior to 1967, the Jordanian army forested the area with pine and fir trees. After 1967, the village would have grown more if not for the Occupying forces’ refusal to issue building permits. Occupation forces refused to recognize the village in its official records. Many families of the neighboring villages bought land from the Izbat At-Tabib family in view of the beauty of the area which led to moderate growth in the 1980s, currently there are forty houses in the village. Twenty of them are roofed with corrugated metal and are built as additions to the original homes; the village residents built them in this way for fear of demolition by the Occupying forces. Sixteen homes are under orders to halt construction, three of which are under threat of demolition. Occupation forces are demanding that either the owners demolish their own homes, or else the Occupation forces will demolish them and charge the demolition costs to their owners.
The Occupation forces also refused to issue a structural plan to the village residents and because Occupation forces refuse to recognize the village, and because it is not recorded in the Occupation registers, residents cannot register their children as residents of the village. Parents are instead forced to record on their children’s birth certificates the name of any other neighboring village. This applies also to identity cards; instead of the village name being recorded on identity cards, the name of one of the neighboring villages is used. As a result, from the beginning of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank in 1967 until the present, no newborn has been registered as being from the village.
In 1989, Occupation forces expropriated 15 dunums of village lands to augment the settlement road that extends from the settlement Alfe Menashe, southwest of the village, to the Shomron bloc, east of the village. In this way, the village has become enclosed with no chance for expansion. On the east side, it is walled in by woodlands; in the north is the settlement road; and in the west is a citrus processing factory.
During the Oslo period, the entire village was classified as Area C, meaning that all aspects of life for the people inside it were under the control of the Occupation. In 1998, an Israeli company named “Dan Mukhizur” tried to settle illegally in the area. There were plans to transfer the factory from Haifa, where Israelis had demanded its removal due to the pollution it caused. In an attempt to transfer the company to the lands of Izbat At-Tabib, Occupation forces bulldozed several dunums and uprooted pine trees. After steady protest by the villagers, the project to transfer the factory to Izbat At-Tabib ended.
***image1***The people of the village depend on work inside the Green Line, in addition to agriculture and raising livestock. With the building of the Apartheid Wall on village lands, villagers lost their sources of livelihood. In the area of Alfe Menashe, the Wall took 50% of Izbat At-Tabib’s land, which either lay in its path or became isolated behind it. The Wall isolated this land together with the villages’ lands of Isla, Azzun and Nabi Ilyas. Occupation forces issued no permits to enter the isolated lands except to a small proportion of the people of the villages. Thus, the people of Izbat At-Tabib lost their land. The workers in the village no longer are able to reach their places of work. At the beginning of the Intifada the Occupation forces closed the entrance to the village that connects it to the main road. Since then, anytime residents wish to go anywhere outside their village they are forced to travel long detours.
The village is at risk of being depopulated. Classifying the village as Area C â and consequently denying permits to villagers to build their homes â provides the Occupation with a pretext to demolish homes and thereby expel the village’s population. This is further supported by the presence of another colonization project in the area to transfer the factory from Haifa to the village lands is not far possibility knowing that the Occupation forces are putting in place industrial areas that will effectively remove polluting industries from “Jewish urban areas”, and situate them instead in Palestinian areas. Up until now, there are projects to establish Israeli industrial areas east of the Wall in Jenin, Tulkarem, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The industrial zone targeted for the lands of Izbat At-Tabib could be part of this larger picture.
At 11:00 a.m., on July 17, 2004, a mass march will be organized by the villagers of Izbat At-Tabib and the Popular Committees against the Wall in all Palestinian governorates.
The march protests the plans of the Occupation forces to transfer the village’s population, by denying them their rights, oppressing them, and marginalizing them AND calls for the recognition of the village and its inhabitants!
The villagers of Izbat At-Tabib call upon all who oppose the Wall to participate in this demonstration as an expression of solidarity with all Palestinian villages targeted by the Apartheid Wall!