Fakhri abid al-aziz Kadeeh: “The Wall has destroyed my life”

Fakhri, from Shuqba, is a Palestinian Farmer. As every farmer following years of tradition in this region, he depends on two seasons of production. Planting and harvesting during the winter and summer ensures enough produce and income to live. In winter, Fakhri depends largely on figs, and in the summer olives. The Apartheid Wall has devastated this cycle and jeopardized Fakhri’s - as well as his community’s - very existence on their own land. Here he tells his story …

“They started the Wall last year, just one month before the olive collecting season. It was October of 2003. They uprooted the olive trees and destroyed and isolated our lands totaling 1000 dunums. More than 55 olive trees were uprooted for the wall path. Our village council mayor, who also lost lands isolated behind the wall, received the confiscation orders. They also asked him to distribute those orders among the farmers. Most of those lands are in the west of Shuqba”.

Fakhri owns 50 dunums of the lands isolated behind the wall. He remarked that: “most of those 50 dunums are mine. Some lands are for my uncle’s sons but I was supervising them. All those lands now are now isolated behind the Wall along with a small house that we used when working on the land. They started by uprooting 120 of my olive trees. This piece of land was the most fertilized of all, now they destroyed it.” This land was used for planting figs and almonds besides the olive trees. Yearly income from figs alone equaled $4500. The monthly income of around $375 was considered high in a country in which the brutal conditions of military Occupation make any form of livelihood challenging.

Since the Wall’s construction Occupation Forces have refused to issue a permit for Fakhri to reach his lands. He stated: “They told me to go to Beit Eal (Occupation military administrative camp) and bring a permit (…) I tried more than once but every time they said we are not allowed to get the permit or even to reach the land.”

This isolated land wasn’t the only loss for Kadeeh family. They also lost lands for the Jewish-only bypass road (number 446). This bypass connects the settlements bloc of Modi’n A’llit with the settlements bloc of Arial, west of Nablus district. Fakhri clarified how: “Originally, our village is in the 1948 areas. The historical village and most of its lands was taken from us after the 1948 war. Then they built a bypass road after the 1967 war and took more lands from the 1948 areas and the 1967 areas also. We don’t have any settlements on our lands but they built these bypass roads on our lands to serve the settlements blocs to the north and south of the West Bank. You need also to count the lands close to both sides of these bypasses. These lands were forbidden on us to use for planting, building or any other kind of investment. We consider them lost too.”


***image3***Sadaat Mohammad Omry: “We love our trees as much as our children”

The picture of Shoqba’s historical ruins destroyed or isolated is prominent in the mind of Sadaat Mohammed Omry. Sadat, 75 years old, noted that with the razing of these lands came the razing of his roots.

“The houses are very clear in my mind. Also I can remember the old water wells, caves and graves of our people. These are very old Islamic graves. My father lived to the age of 105 but he still didn’t know who built these graves. Some people say that these graves are for people who lived here before the Roman period.

“The land was planted with olive and figs. I continued to plant vegetables and wheat under the shadows of the olive trees. In the good lands we planted figs. We loved our trees as much as our children. I’m a farmer since the beginning. We learned how to farm, collect fruits and to take care of the land. We used to spend all day in the lands. Since the age of 15 until they confiscated it, I used to plant and water this land. I lived with this land day-by-day. I continued to take care of these lands until harvest. Each fig tree used to produce 2 boxes of figs with income around 100 NIS (22$). In my land there were 75 trees. They uprooted 15 of them until now.”

So how did he react to the uprooting of his trees? Sadaat answers:”When I saw the bulldozers I told the soldier he would need to shoot me first and then I laid down on the ground in front of the bulldozers. The soldiers told me that it is better for me to move or they will really shoot me. It was so terrible. I’m standing on my land and they are threading me to kill me. So what I thought. They already took the land so let them kill me. They took the land to build three bypass roads of 70 meters wide. Then they said there is to be a 200 meters wide “Seam Zone” next to the road. They put cameras all along the road and the military hummers (cars) come and go and threaten to shoot us if we come close to these roads.”

This isolated and confiscated land was the only income to Sadaat and his family of 30. He witnessed his land being destroyed and the trees uprooted with his eyes. Now he witnesses his family’s hunger and suffering because of the Apartheid Wall and the Jewish-only bypass roads.



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