Days before the Sharm Al Sheikh Summit and following Al Jib: New Confiscation Orders in Beit Hanina to Devastate People’s Lives
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Days before the Sharm Al Sheikh Summit and following Al Jib: New Confiscation Orders in Beit Hanina to Devastate People’s Lives

***image2***The Occupation Forces gave on February 7th 2005, confiscation orders for the Wall in Beit Hanina village, northwest Jerusalem, four days after those given to Al Jib village, that will be put in the same ghetto together with Beit Hanina, Qalandiya, Judeira and Bir Nabala. These confiscation orders were all given days before the Sharm Al Sheikh Summit, where the so-called “peace” process is to be revived, as Israel continues to create realities on the ground that seem integral parts of what it considers as steps towards “peace”.

The new section of the Wall separates Beit Hanina village from most of what is left of its western lands, that extend from the valley between Beit Hanina, Nabi Samwil and Beit Iksa villages, and which are estimated as 2400 dunums of the village’s lands. The Wall will run through the valley close to the village houses, destroying Beit Hanina’s plain where most of its olives are planted, many of which are ancient olive trees that have been there for hundreds of years. With this new section of the Wall the people of Beit Hanina will completely lose access to tens of thousands of their olive trees.

The Wall will also isolate 15 water wells, in addition to 3 water springs, mainly Ein Abu Ziad and Ein Malaka, depriving the village from water resources that it relies on.

Not until three years ago, did the people of Beit Hanina ever find it hard to reach their olive, fig or grape trees in the old part of the village. However, with the beginning of the Intifada, the main road linking Beit Hanina al Balad with the rest of Beit Hanina was closed by Occupation Forces using earth mounds.

Two years ago, Occupation Forces opened the new bypass road number 443, linking east and west Palestine. The bypass confiscated some 1000 dunums of both Bir Nabala and Beit Hanina’s lands, most of which belonged to Beit Hanina. This bypass road is walled with concrete blocks and now acts de facto as part of the Wall and cuts Beit Hanina into two parts. People who want to reach the Balad or pick their olives are now forced to go from Bir Nabala. In addition, the walled bypass has had severe effects on education in the village; since it was completed the number of student able to reach their schools dropped from 500 students to 350 students, taking into account that Beit Hanina village has no secondary schools for boys, who have to go to nearby villages like Beit Iksa, Bir Nabala or Ar Ram. Beit Hanina has no easy access to any of these areas.

The people of Beit Hanina on both sides of the Wall will find themselves isolated from all their western lands almost 2\3 of what remains of Beit Hanina’s lands, declared by the Occupation Forces, after 1967, as “green areas”, which dictates that Palestinians cannot use these lands; however, the settlement of Ramot has been expanding on the lands of both Nabi Samwil and Beit Hanina ever since the settlement was built.

In addition, a huge recreational settler area is planned on these lands. The people in Beit Hanina have heard that the Israelis are planning to turn these lands into a park and sports playground. Moreover, the Occupation Forces established a military base on top of one of the hills of Beit Hanina in the same western part, confiscating 330 dunums of these lands in addition to tens of dunums confiscated for opening a road to link to the base.

The effects of the already completed section of the Wall around Beit Hanina can also be seen in the rising unemployment in the village with many of the workers not being able to reach their work places.

Dividing Beit Hanina into two parts is not the only problem facing the village, as another bypass that links from the “French Hill” settlement to the south with Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Ya’acov settlements cuts through the middle of Beit Hanina the suburb, isolating many of its lands and houses on the “settlement side”.

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