The Israeli attacks against sacred trees continue … !!!

The Israeli attacks against sacred trees continue … !!!


Photo 1: An old fig tree died by poisonous substances sprayed by settlers, : An old fig tree died by poisonous substances sprayed by settlers, Photo courtesy of LRC

Location and population :-

Kufr Thulth is located 12 km south east of Qalqilyia city. It is affiliated to the governorate of Qalqilyia. The pre-1967 population number of the town was 1,200, a number which decreased in the first years after the 1967 War to 820 people due Israeli transfer policy of Palestinians  to nearby cities and towns. The latest population statistics (as late as 2003) indicates a total population of 4062.

The town is considered the ''mother'' village of the following ''sub-villages'': Izbat Salman, Izbat Jal'ud, Izbat Al Madwar, Ras at Tira, Ras Atiya, Al Daba' and Wadi ar Rasha. As such, the town of Kafr Thulth and its satellite villages are considered one unit in terms of population and agricultural lands. See location Map


The village of Kufr Thuluth ( in red circle) – Qalqilyia governorate


The village area

The area of the town and the neighboring villages is 16,000 dunums, out of which 1500 dunums are currently a target of the Israeli colonial activities apart from what has been taken in the past and indicated below.

In 1976, about 1000 dunums were expropriated for the expansion of Alfei Menashe settlement north of the village. In 1978, another 500 dunums were confiscated for the establishment of the settlement of  Ma'ale Shomron. The latest confiscation action took place in the year 2004 when a group of Israeli settlers seized 50 dunums of land south of the village to establish a new colonial outpost comprised of 6 caravans. A road was also built to link between the newly established outpost and the settlement of Ma'ale Shomron. Electricity from the nearby settlement was also provided to this new ' illegal' colonial outpost which now threatens to confiscate more than 200 dunums besieged between the already existed settlement of Ma'ale Shomron and the new colonial outpost.

Cutting of olive trees

In a preliminary step to confiscate the targeted land mentioned above, dozens of settlers, supported by soldiers and officials from the Israeli Planning Department of the so – called Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank- cut with electric saws 90 aged olive trees owned by Farmers Farid Othman Muqbel and  Hamid Zeib Odeh. The attackers, also, sprayed the trees with poisonous chemical substance which completely paralyzes natural growth.


Photo 2: A farmer pointing at the stem of an olive tree sawed down by settlers, : A farmer pointing at the stem of an olive tree sawed down by settlers, Photo courtesy of LRC

During the attack dated on June, 2004, Palestinian farmers rushed to the scene and clashed with the saboteurs forcing them to flee the area. The affected farmers levied a case against the saboteurs and contacted a number of legal and humanitarian organizations asking for help.


Photo 3: Part of the colonial road linking between the settlement of Ma'ale Shomron and the new colonial post passing through olive orchards in Kufr Thuluth threatening these agricultural lands with eventual confiscation, Photo courtesy of LRC Photo courtesy of LRC

Another attack

Few days later and in a clear defiance of the will of land owners, legal processes, and supporters, the Israeli settlers supported by soldiers and Israeli Civil Administration's personnel returned to the targeted land and sawed down another 150 olive, almond and fig trees. This action prompted Palestinian owners of the land and their supporters to clash again with the settlers and forced them out of the land. However, the Israeli soldiers backing the settlers opened fire, tear gas and sound bombs at the Palestinian farmers causing some injuries.

Palestinian land owners presented all ownership documents to the Israeli high court through lawyer Fu'ad Shbeta, but no decision has been taken yet.


Photo 4: Palestinian olive orchard landscape threatened with confiscation in
the vicinity of Ma'ale Shomron settlement
, Photo courtesy of LRC
Photo courtesy of LRC

In an interview conducted by LRC field worker, owner Farid Muqbel, 75 years old,  said the following: 'I inherited this land from my parents and grandparents. I planted all these trees with my own hands and exerted a lot of effort to rear them up as if they were my children. I love them as mush as I love my children. There is no explanation for what they have done, except one thing: dismissing us from our land and pavig the way for the construction of more Jewish homes. This is unjust and inhumane thing to do'.


 In the background is the settlement of Ma'ale Shomron, in the foreground is the newly established settlement post amidst olive orchards, Photo courtesy of LRC




Prepared by
The Land Research Center

Categories: Agriculture