September 5, 2010

Israel orders Jordan Valley farmers to leave land


Ma'an - SALFIT – Israel's Civil Administration ordered farmers to leave land they were cultivating on Wednesday in the Wadi Abu Ammar area in the northern West Bank district of Saflit.

Saber Mar'ey, one of the farmers from the Qarawat Bani Hassan village, said Israeli authorities warned them not to continue working on the lands, which all fall under Area C. He said the land, estimated at 400 dunums, was originally abandoned and recovered by farmers for cultivation.

Ma'rey said he received an initial stop-work order from the Civil Administration on 12 July 2010 and later on 5 August 2010 before they were all ordered to vacate the area.

A spokesman for Israel's Civil Administration said that the farmers "intruded on government land without a permit and therefore were ordered to evacuate the area."

The farmland is under full Israeli control over security, planning and construction. Many Palestinian buildings and agriculture-related constructions have been torn by Israel's Civil Administration for failing to receive approval for the initial building.

Several villages in the Jordan Valley have seen structures razed by the Civil Administration since July. A UN report said 86 structures were demolished in the area in mid-July, and 17 others were demolished in other areas of the West Bank the week after.

"The spate of demolitions raises concerns over whether Israeli authorities could further escalate demolitions throughout Area C," the report said, noting more than 3,000 demolition orders handed down by Israeli officials to locals were still outstanding.

In mid-August, residents of the Al-Farisiya village in the Salfit district saw several structures razed for the third time in just over a month, after farmers continued rebuilding the area after it was demolished.

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