Bypass road 60 hit hard at Beit Ummer and Halhul fertile agricultural land
The Israeli supreme committee for planning and the sub-committee for roads affiliated to the so-called Israeli 'civil administration in Judea and Samaria' announced the placement of the scheme for the detailed planning project number T/20/901 of the bypass road number 60 passing by Al Arrub refugee camp, Beit Ummer and Halhul towns.
The announcement was published in Al Quds newspaper on August 8th, 2006, page number 27. It says that the target land is located in the following areas:
1. Basins number 2, 4 and 8 of Beit Ummer and Al Arrub lands;
2. Basins number 8, 10 and 11 of Halhul lands.
Affected land owners and farmers were given a two – month ultimatum starting from the date of announcement in the local newspaper to object the scheme in front of the Israeli legal advisor at Beit Eil, or engineer of the special committee for planning and construction at Otni'el settlement, Hebron, or DCO at Hebron.
The total area of 1100 dunums is expected to be confiscated for the construction of this section of the bypass road divided as followed:
1. 350 dunums of land from Halhul town;
2. 700 dunums from Beit Ummer town;
3. 50 dunums from Al Arrub governmental agricultural college. See Satellite Image
Most of the target lands are cultivated with grape and almond trees. Halhul municipality sources said that the target Halhul lands are located to the north east side of the town in the following areas: Wadi Ash Shanar, Khirbet Aqel, Ras Al Qadi. The land is owned by many families, including Aqel, Ad Dawada and As Sa'di, While sources at Beit Ummer municipality clarified that the target Beit Ummer lands are located to the north east and east of the town in the following areas: Khirbet Ibreikut, Khirbet At Tala', Abu Soda, Ifreidis, Wadi Ash Sheikh Wardan and Beit Zi'ta. The land is owned by the families of Abu Ayyash, Ikhlayel and Wahadin.
In an Interview with LRC field worker, The head of Halhul municipality, Dr. Ziyyad Abu Yusif described the latest Israeli confiscation announcement as disastrous because it will bring to 2850 the number of dunums that have been confiscated from Halhul town for the construction of this bypass road since its commencement in the second half of the nineties of the last century. He confirmed that the confiscated land is of high agricultural value as it is located in the most fertile parts of the town. The newly announced road scheme will block any expansion in the town's built up area towards east and north and will separate huge areas of agricultural lands behind it's path, Mr. Abu Yusif went on to say. Moreover, the road scheme encompasses an exit through Khirbet Aqel in the north eastern corner of Halhul to connect the settlement of Karmei Zur to the north west of the town. In effect, this will lead to separating houses and families in Khirbet Aqel from each other (see the attached satellite image).
As for Beit Ummer, the latest confiscation announcement will increase to 6000 the number of dunums expected to be confiscated or separated for the purpose of building the Segregation Wall and the road. The Segregation Wall is planned to be constructed at the northern borders of the town to annex the ten settlement of Gush Etzion to Israeli. Such a measure will inflict far heavy losses at Palestinian land owners and farmers who will become landless. In addition, it will stop any natural expansion for Beit Ummer town towards east and north as a result of the Wall and road plans.
According to the published road scheme the Al Arrub cemetery is threatened with partial demolition as the road passes by its western upper edge. This live cemetery is the only one available for the camp's residents. See Photo 3
On August 22nd, 2006, the municipalities of Beit Ummer and Halhul along with more than100 land owners and farmers have presented an objection to the Israeli legal advisor at Beit Eil against the road scheme. In their complaint they said the following:
1. That the planned road passes by the most fertile pieces of lands in Beit Ummer and Halhul towns at the length of 8093 meters which will cause serious damage to the land and vegetations of different types.
2. That the planned road will cause big losses to hundreds of land owners and families who use the target lands as a primary source of livelihood. .
3. That the planned road passes by an already exited road (the Hebron- Jerusalem road) and there is no need to build this new road.
Accordingly, the complaint added, we demand that the land confiscation military decree be revised and abolished to save the interests of the affected people.
The Land Research Center