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Sunday, October 23, 2016
Palestinian farmers hold prayer service on land due for confiscation
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 Palestinian farmers and international supporters are planning to hold a prayer service tomorrow, on their land which the Israeli government plans to confiscate. The farmers, from villages in the Tulkarem and Qalqilya regions of the Israeli occupied West Bank will begin their prayers at 12.30 in Beit Amin. At 1.30 they will begin to walk to Izbet Salman to protest at the confiscation of farmland and water sources by the Israeli military. The Israeli army has announced plans to seize over 80,000 dunams of fertile farmland (one dunam is approximately a quarter acre) and nearly all of the region's 37 water wells. These seizures of Palestinian land will result in the redrawing of the border between Israel and 1967 Occupied Palestine. Areas affected extend along the Israeli-Palestinian border, from Jenin to Hebron. The Israeli military claims the confiscations are necessary due to nonspecific security concerns. Last week, the Israeli military notified farmers of the immediate seizure of their lands when Israeli soldiers placed handwritten documents signed by General Keflinsky in Palestinian olive orchards and croplands. Within days, bulldozers accompanied by military personnel began the destruction of acres of cultivated farmland and the cutting down of ancient olive trees laden with fruit ready for harvest in the coming month of October. According to the handwritten notices, the farmers had one week to appeal the decision; however, they have been unable to make an appeal due to military travel restrictions and Israeli administrative office closures for the celebration of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Israeli seizure will turn the area's subsistence level farmers into refugees, robbed of ancestral land and economic means of supporting their families. The area around Tulkarem and Qalqilya is one of the most fertile agricultural area in the West Bank and includes the Western Aquifer Area which supplies the primary irrigation and drinking water for the surrounding population. The region's economy is dependent on these wells and family farms, which have been under cultivation for generations. This week, Israeli surveyors with armed Israeli soldiers continue to mark the areas slated for seizure. Painted and red ribbon markers have been placed meters away from villagers' homes, on agricultural greenhouses and trunks of fruit trees. Palestinian farmers state their only hope for holding onto their land is through international condemnation of the Israeli seizures. source: pcrpbs
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