Less than a week after an Occupation High Court decision to change the route of the Apartheid Wall in Jayyous, Occupation forces began uprooting trees and destroying farmland to make room for the construction of the Wall. This is part of the 277 dunums of land that will be razed for the path of the Wall, in addition to the 5,585 dunums that will be permanently confiscated when it is completed. Some 200 olive trees have already been marked for uprooting.
***image2***On November 4th, the Occupation High Court closed the legal charade it had started in 2004 as one of the attempts to undermine the International Court of Justice decision on the illegality of the Wall. In 2005 the Occupation decided to re-route the Wall. However, three years lapsed, in which time the settlements on Jayyous lands were given time consolidate their expansion plans. These plans were then taken into account in the creation of the new path of the Wall. Finally, a week ago the Occupation court approved the new plans of the military that were aimed not only at cementing the Occupationâs land grab, but also to try and extort Palestinian approval. The mayor of the village, representing Jayyous, was put under clear pressure to accept the path, but he still refused to give his approval. Jayyous does not surrender its lands.
With the old and the new path of the Wall, the settlement of Zufim is slated to swallow much of the annexed land, along with an industrial zone that the Occupation will build on the agricultural lands of Jayyous. The construction of infrastructure for the new part of the settlement called “North Zufim” has already begun. Construction of an electricity network has started and the creation of housing units is imminent.
This is the first time that the Occupation has begun to build the Wall in accordance with a court decision to re-route it. The decision of the Occupation courts includes the re-routing of the Wall north of Jayyous by replacing a 2.4 km stretch with a 4.9 km stretch that is 2 km closer to the Green Line. The Wall in Jayyous still encroaches 4 km inside the West Bank. By re-routing the Wall, the Occupation is causing more devastation to the land through the uprooting of additional olive trees â in addition to the 6,000 that have already been uprooted â and the destruction of more farmland. Farmers will now permanently be cut off from their farmland, as the gates through the Wall will be completely closed. As a result of this land grab, the 85% of the people of Jayyous who made their living as farmers have largely been made unemployed, and most of those who were still able to maintain their livelihoods will now join the jobless ranks.
The court decision, therefore, does nothing to reverse the damage that has been done to the Jayyous, and in no way does it alleviate the hardships caused the villagers and farmers. Indeed, the only effective form of change would be to tear down the wall completely, not to change its path. This court decision merely serves to give a faÃ§ade of legality to the construction of the illegal Wall and its destruction and dispossession of village land.
Jayyous was the first village that mounted regular, large-scale protests against the construction of the Wall when it was first being built, and eventually, these protests spread to villages such as Niâlin, Bilâin, and al Masra. By targeting Jayyous, with these actions, therefore, the Occupation is effectively setting an example for the rest of the West Bank: those who attempt to resist their colonialist aims and apartheid infrastructure will pay with increased destruction and dispossession.