In Jayyus, Destruction of Land and Uprooting of Trees Lays the Foundation for a New Settlement on Village Land Isolated by the Wall
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In Jayyus, Destruction of Land and Uprooting of Trees Lays the Foundation for a New Settlement on Village Land Isolated by the Wall

***image2***On December 10, 2004, Occupation Forces began bulldozing and uprooting trees in a wide swath of land in the western part of Jayyus, a village located in the Qalqiliya district. The destruction of land and trees by the Occupation Forces is to build a new settlement on these village lands, which have been isolated by the Apartheid Wall.

The new settlement, “Nofei Zufim” (“North Zufin”), has begun to be constructed by Occupation Forces on the western part of Jayyus’ lands. It lies three kilometers to the north and east of Zufin settlement, which was established on land expropriated from the village in 1993.

The Wall has already isolated approximately 8600 dunums of land – some 72% of Jayyus’ lands – in addition to destroying another 550 dunums in its path. The new settlement is located on those village lands isolated behind and just beside the Wall, which stands a short distance from the homes and shelters of the village.

Taken altogether, the building of this settlement on these isolated lands comprises a new step toward the final and complete annexation and control of all the village’s lands isolated behind the Wall. The Apartheid Wall, together with these settlements and whatever further settlement development may be planned, will form the final stage of isolation for the villagers’ lands. The Wall and settlements will prevent villagers from reaching their lands, which are already virtually inaccessible to the residents of Jayyus (see map). Once the villagers have been totally cut off from working on their isolated lands by this latest step, these lands will be declared “uncultivated” by the Occupation Forces, who will then use this pretense to claim that it is “legitimate” to take possession of these lands.

In the past, Occupation Forces tried in various ways to control these lands that are now isolated behind the Wall. Then, on October 30, 1988, Occupation Forces expropriated part of these lands as “state lands.” The confiscation order issued at that time expropriated an area of 1,362 dunums of Jayyus village lands, according to the financial records. However, because of the Occupation’s unjust tax laws, people often reported the size their lands to be smaller than they actually were, so the real area that was expropriated was three times as large, approaching 4000 dunums.

The settlement of Zufin was being built on part of this confiscated area. The Occupation courts issued the confiscation order on June 28, 1996 – but Occupation Forces had already begun this process of colonial settlement construction three years earlier. In 1993, they established a quarry on the eastern side of the confiscated area, and at the same time established Zufin settlement in the midst of the confiscated area located on the western side of the village.

Then, in the year 2000, Occupation Forces announced – in an attempt to mislead the villagers – that the remaining lands would not be recorded as “state lands,” but would instead be controlled by the Occupation for “military reasons.” However, whatever excuses they used, whether it was controlling these as “state lands” or for “military reasons,” it was the same result on the ground: expropriating the land and building the settlement. Occupation Forces under either excuse began in 1993 to construct Zufin settlement and the quarry. By building this new settlement today, they are working to complete their plan to control all of the lands that are now isolated by the Wall.

At present, Occupation Forces are bulldozing the land of the family of Tawfiq Hasan Saleem. This is an area of 76 dunums planted with 700 olive-laden trees, located in the mid-eastern area of the village’s isolated land (see map). Occupation Forces have already uprooted 117 of the trees planted on this land.

The current razing of land in Jayyus village confirms the Occupation’s policy and plan for land theft and colonial expansion, which will follow the completion of the Apartheid Wall in Palestinian towns and villages. In Jayyus, the Apartheid Wall’s first phase of construction ended on August 15, 2003. But this was just the latest in a long story of land theft and colonial expansion on Jayyus’ lands, and this process continues in its latest stage with the construction of “Nofei Zufim.”