Occupation authorities issued a confiscation order on August 29th for 3 dunums 900m2 from Harmala village southeast of Bethlehem. Land is being confiscated in a built-up area to build a concrete wall. This Wall will be 1 Â½ km long west of Harmala along a settler road and will be built 40m from the nearest house and close to the ***image2***village cemetery. A further 6 dunums will be annexed by the Wall. Occupation forces built the settler road at the end of 2005. It is around 4km long and a lot of land from nearby villages was stolen. This settler road, which links settler colonies in the Bethlehem district to Jerusalem, consolidates the ghettoization of Palestinian communities in the area. Palestinians are prevented from accessing the new settler highways through a system of walls and roadblocks, having to use instead side roads in their ghettos.
Meanwhile, the Zionist regimeâs policy to force Palestinians in the walls of the southern ghetto of Bethlehem and Hebron has seen a further round of settler violence in the Hebron district. Dozens of settlers from Susya destroyed around 45 olive trees belonging to farmers southeast of Hebron. Witnesses said that after dozens of settlers held a party the day before they destroyed the olive trees with sticks and by hand. Nasser, one of the farmers, said that this wanton and racist violence was carried out with the protection of soldiers. He went on to say that farmers in the area are often attacked by settlers and their olive trees and vines destroyed.
Several families in the area have been attacked by settlers this year, including one occasion when masked settlers attacked farmers with knives in the middle of the night, causing serious injury to two farmers. The farmers subsequently moved out of their stone homes for fear of further attacks and now live in tents further away from the Susya colony. Typically during these attacks, masked settlers will attack the farmers whilst armed settler security guards will watch over the attack ensuring the farmers donât fight back. None of these attacks have ever led to Occupation police forces arresting and prosecuting the cowardly settlers.
During the olive harvest farmers in the area are prevented from reaching their olive trees by settlers. In the south Hebron area settlers often destroy the trees even before the farmers have a chance to pick the olives.
This pattern of settler violence carried out with the connivance of the Occupation authorities is a violent part of the Zionist regimeâs policy of ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their land and into tightly controlled ghettos. The continued presence of Palestinian farmers and their families in places like Susya is a testimony to their courageous struggle to stay on their land in the face of frequent paramilitary style settler violence.