The Israeli Occupation Cuts Off Agricultural Roads in Hebron Governorate

The Israeli Occupation Cuts Off Agricultural Roads in Hebron Governorate

At the time that Israeli occupation authorities declare its intention to improve Palestinian movement through the lifting of a number of closures, it turned out that Israeli forces have placed additional earthmounds on more agricultural roads in the towns of Idhna and Beit Awwa west of the Governorate of Hebron. These new closures were placed on the 20th of September, 2008.




Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, have created two earthmound on two agricultural roads in the town; the first road (number 1 on the map) links between the hamlet of Khallet Sa’ad and the area of Rasm Al Tofal west of the town of Idhna. The second road (donated by the number 2 on the map) used to link the area of Wadi Al Shomar and the area of Beit Eilam both of which are agricultural and grazing lands. The two closures were created under the pretext of “preventing Arab farmers and their vehicles from reaching the Wall”, according to the director of the Palestinian DCL in Idhna, Mr. Jamal Nofal quoting Israeli sources.


The two obstructed roads are mere extensions of agricultural roads opened and developed by the Idhna Municipality in an effort to ease access of Palestinian farmers to their lands in the said areas. The opening of the roads was done in light of the massive losses land owners have encountered due to the establishment of the Israeli Racist Wall atop their lands in the affected area.   


Photo 1: The area of Beit Eilam west of the town of Idhna


It was not the first time that Israeli occupation forces have harassed the Palestinians of the area; according to eye witnesses, Israeli forces have arrested 5 Palestinian farmers about two months ago due to their presence in their lands in the vicinity of the Racist Wall. They were transported to investigation centers and then released after paying hefty financial fines. Also, it was reported that Israeli jeeps using the road in the buffer zone of the Wall usually cuss the farmers while working in their lands and order them to leave immediately. The Palestinian farmers indicated that the soldiers claim that their actions are carried out in an effort to “protect Israelis beyond the Wall against farmers’ attacks.!!!” That was despite the fact that the farmers have never carried out any such attacks and fact that it is the occupation forces that attack and chase off Palestinians working in the area.


One of the farmers affected by the new closures has indicated that the real goal of the occupation is “to prevent Palestinian farmers from reaching and working in their lands next to the Wall in an effort to annex it in the future to be used for colonial purposes.”


Mr. Jamal Nofal pointed out that an official complaint was submitted to the Israeli counterpart regarding these closures, yet so far no answer was provided.


Beit Awwa:

On the 19th of September, 2008 Israeli bulldozers have created two earthmounds on two agricultural roads in the town. One of the roads (number 3 on the map) is located in the vicinity of the Isolation Wall west of the town while the other one (number 4 on the map) is located in the area of Wadi A’amer north west of the town across from the colony of Sheikev.




Photo 3 & Photo 4: The closures on the agricultural road in Beit Awwa.


The closure of these two roads came in the aftermath of imposing a long curfew on the residents of the town between the early morning hours until noon. This military operation was conducted under the pretext of searching for “wanted Palestinians” and “restricted materials,” according to director of Beit Awwa Municipality. The director pointed out that the farmers have constructed the now-closed agricultural roads in order to reach their lands that were damaged due to the construction of the Wall. He also added that only agricultural tractors could use these roads due to its rough nature. He emphasized that the Israeli forces have also destroyed a number of walls in the vicinity of the two roads. International organizations, such as the ICRC, UNOCHA and the Agricultural Relief, were informed about these closures via the Municipality.      


Photo 1: Israeli bulldozers creating a road west of the Wall across from Palestinian agricultural lands

Photo 2: The colony of Sheikev located west of Beit Awwa. Note Israeli machinery creating a road west of the Wall.


Palestinian farmers affected the most by the afore-mentioned closures have expressed their deep concern about the fate of their lands especially that they are at the foresteps of the plowing and planting season. The inability to reach their land to plow it and the fact that no alternative route exist is especially worrisome for them. One of the farmers has indicated that he was rehabilitating his land when an Israeli bulldozer plowed it and used its stones to block the said agricultural roads.


Al Burj:

The village of Al Burj is located west of the town of Dura. In October 2007 Israeli occupation forces have cut off the only agricultural road connecting between the village and its agricultural lands south of the village (the road is donated by the number 5 on the map). The isolated lands (area = about 1,000 dunums) are used for grazing and planting purposes. The closure has taken place at the beginning of the land preparation season which forced farmers to use alternative and not-too-suitable roads to reach their lands for the purpose of plowing and planting the seeds. The difficulty of access was reflected in the marked increase in the price of plowing the land using tractors as the driver would have to use rugged mountainous roads to reach the isolated lands.


Mr. Abdel Jaleel Talahma, the head of the village council, pointed out that he has contacted a number of national and international organizations in order to place pressure on the Israeli occupation to lift the closures, yet to no avail. The tragedy is about to be repeated this year, too; the planting season is upon us and the closure is still there.


The cases of Idhna, Beit Awwa and Al Burj form a new method of persecution of the Palestinian farmer; not only did the occupation forces devour thousands of dunums for the benefit of establishing the Racist Wall, these forces are cutting off the roads leading what remains of the Palestinian lands east of the Wall.




Photo 5: Palestinians walk over the earthmounds created by the occupation on Al Burj agricultural road near the Racist Wall.

Prepared by:
The Land Research Center

Categories: Agriculture