The Uprooting of 100 Olive and Almond Trees in Al Walajeh

The Uprooting of 100 Olive and Almond Trees in Al Walajeh
Violation: Land plowing and the uprooting of tens of olive and almond trees.
Date: April 22nd, 2010.

Land Type: Lands planted with different types of trees.
Cause of Violation: For the establishment of the Racist Isolation Wall.
Al Walajeh Faces the Wrath of Occupation:
Since 1948 until nowadays Israeli occupation voracity in Al Walajeh has been apparent and continuous. In 1948, the total area of the town was 17,793 dunums of which 11,793 dunums were occupied then. In 1967, the area of the town was reduced even further to 6,000 dunums. In 1996, an additional 400 dunums were confiscated for the purpose of building an Israeli by-pass road while an additional 1000 dunums were expropriated for the benefit of the colonies of Gilo and Har Gilo between the years 1969 to 1997.  Nowadays, Israeli occupation forces are planning to confiscate the remaining 4800 dunums for the purpose of establishing a new colony that would encompass 13,600 colonial units. The new colony would serve as a natural connection between the Jewish neighborhoods in West Jerusalem and the colonies of Gush Etzion. Infrastructure works to establish the Racist Isolation Wall are already under way.
Al Walajeh is located 8.5 kilometers south west of the city of Jerusalem and 5.4 kilometers northwest of the city of Bethlehem. Geographically, it is associated with the city of Bethlehem. In case the Racist Wall is established in the town, Al Walajeh will be totally isolated from its hinterland in the West Bank from three directions; north, west and east. The length of the Wall in the town is 5 kilometers and it will isolate more than 2,000 dunums behind it.  
Details of the Violation:
At 7:00 AM on the 22nd of April, 2010, Israeli forces made an incursion into the town through its eastern entrance – Ein Jweiza Neighborhood and started to uproot tens of olive and almond trees as a prelude to establish the Racist Wall.
Mr. Adel Al Atrash, the head of Al Walajeh Village Council, expressed the following for the Land Research Center (LRC)’s field researcher: ‘At 7:00 AM on the 22nd of April 2010, around 100 Israeli soldiers accompanied by 8 Border Police jeeps and 3 tractors, bulldozers and a bagger entered the Ein Jweizea Neighborhood. They began to cut down and uproot olive and almond trees between 15 and 20 years old. About 100 trees were lost right in front of the eyes of their owners. The scene was very painful.’
He continued by saying ‘ Occupation forces prevented us from reaching the fields. A number of soldiers chased off land owners who tried to reach their uprooted and cut-down trees. It felt as if the whole town was under curfew. In case the Wall is built, it would isolate 1985 dunums that are filled with olive and almond trees. It will also devour 500 dunums for the route of the Wall.’
The residents of the town were surprised by the ferocity of the raid as they did not expect it especially in light of the fact they have submitted legal objections against the Wall and its route in the town. The uprooting, residents believe, comes as an execution of an old military order issued in 2006. The residents, then, submitted 4 objections to which the relevant Israeli court did not even bother to respond to the lawyer appointed by the town. It is worth noting the lawyer Kastro Dawood was hired in 2006 to follow up with the case legally, yet it seemed that he failed to make any progress in it. In 2008, the lawyer Ghyyath Naser overtook the case on behalf of the town and the Palestinian Authority.
The Israeli occupation is convinced of the need for the presence of the Wall. As such, all injunctions and legal procedures against it are, it seems, useless.  


Categories: Settlers Attacks