Squeezed Between Settlements: Arab Lefhedat under attack
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Squeezed Between Settlements: Arab Lefhedat under attack

***image2***Occupation Forces attacked villagers in Arab Lefhedat on the morning of May the 8th, leaving fresh demolition orders for Palestinian property. Soldiers conducted inspections of four houses in the village situated to the East of Anata in Jerusalem. Declaring parts of the houses are to be “demolished”, the Occupation continued its trend of systematic violence and intimidation to rid Jerusalem of Palestinians. Maher Fhedat, Muhamed Fhedat, Riyad Fhedat, Saleh Fhedat and their families were all left fearing for their futures with their houses targeted in this latest round of attacks.

The houses were all built before 1967. Over the years the homes were extended to accommodate growing families and today provide shelter to some 25 people. Soldiers informed the house owners that “the new parts” of their homes are to be demolished in the coming days, whilst carrying out a thorough inspection the area to assure the attack will be well prepared.

The entire community is formed of 40 families living in 12 houses. In recent years it had been increasingly squeezed by the presence of Zionist colonies and expansion throughout the area. The village is located east of Anata, squeezed between settler-road n.45 to the Northeast and the Occupation Forces military camp in Anatot to the West. In 1996, the settlement road took some 100 dunums of land from the community. The military camp stole some 600 dunums of land, leaving Arab Lefhedat with no more than 80 dunums.

***image3***Recently, a new settler road has further cut off the community from Anata, a core metropolitan area for the village and from which it is dependant upon for basic social services. Both Arab Lefhedat and Anata are situated in the expansion line of the Jewish colonies in East Jerusalem including the E1 settlement bloc.

Continued pressure to Palestinian life in the area signals the clear intention of the Occupation to clear the area from its Palestinian inhabitants to build continuous settler communities. The Occupation frequently resorts to intimidation and house demolitions under the pretext of “permits” to achieve this goal. Moreover, the isolation of Palestinians to make them more vulnerable to attacks is facilitated by the deployment of Apartheid infrastructure such as the Wall and settler-road systems.

Palestinians who have lived and farmed land around Jerusalem for centuries are struggling for their existence. Farmers have also turned down the money of settler organisations for their land, and declare they remain steadfast to their history, present and future in Palestine.