The Prevention of 15 Palestinian Farmers from Rehabilitating their Land in Iskaka village

The Prevention of 15 Palestinian Farmers from Rehabilitating their Land in Iskaka village
Violation: Israeli occupation forces prevented 15 Palestinian farmers from revitalize their lands.
Location: Al Qannina Parcel south east of the village of Iskaka, north of the city of Salfeet.
Date: August 3rd, 2010.
The village of Iskaka is considered one of the prime examples of the Israeli colonial project and policies implemented by Israeli authorities systematically at a feverish rate to devour the largest area of Palestinian lands. Such policies are implemented under the watchful eye of the International Community who stands helpless in the face of the repeated and deliberate violations carried out by the occupation authorities and forces.
The village of Iskaka is one of the villages of Salfeet that fell victim to the colony of Ariel which overtook large areas of its lands ever since it was established in 1978. Since then, one catastrophe after another befell the residents of the village as Israeli occupation authorities and colonists did not spare any tool to use it to confiscate the villages’’ lands. Such tools included land confiscation, placing hands on agricultural lands, fraud, establishing military camps and bases for the occupation army while destroying the Palestinian environment through pumping sewage and wastewater from the colony into the lands of the village. According to the Village Council, the village has lost a third of 18,000 dunums due to such practices. The lost lands were used by Israeli colonists to expand the colony, the construction of the Racist Isolation Wall surrounding the colony in addition to the establishment of Road 60.   
Yet, despite all of the afore-mentioned policies and practices, the simple Palestinian farmer in Iskaka insists on reaching his land and working in it as to save what can be saved of it; in early July 2010 a group of 15 Palestinian farmers managed to get assistance from Al Zaytouna Organization to rehabilitate 25 dunums of their lands located an area known as Al Qannina south east of the village. The targeted area is only 2 kilometers away from the village’s boundaries. Israeli occupation forces granted the farmers a permit to access their lands via the Palestinian liason office as the area is located in Area C. As such, Palestinian bulldozers began working on the lands at the end of July 2010. Yet, the farmers were surprised on the morning of Tuesday August 3rd, 2010 when Israeli occupation soldiers stopped them from continuing their work on the land. The soldiers went even further as they have threatened to confiscate the equipment and bulldozers if they didn’t leave the land immediately.
In addition to the prevention of working on the land, Israeli occupation forces delivered an eviction order from the lands that were targeted for rehabilitation and ordered the returning of the lands to its previous status within 45 days as the targeted lands are classified as “State Land.”
Mr. Sameer Khreis, the head of Iskaka’s village council, indicated in an interview with Land Research Center (LRC)’s field researcher that the targeted lands are private Palestinian lands owned by members of the village of Iskaka. The owners have official ownership papers that prove that they have inherited the lands from their grandparents. However, Israeli occupation forces are targeting these lands as to be used for the future expansion of the colony of Rahaleim which was established on the lands of the nearby Palestinian village of Yatma.
The targeted lands are owned by the following Palestinians of Iskaka:
1.     Bahjat Shihada mahmoud Harb.
2.     Mustafa Shihada Mahmoud Harb.
3.     Rateb Shihada Mahmoud Harb.
4.     Abdel Kareem Abdel Hameed Marrouh Hameida.
5.     Mamdouh Abdel Hameed Marrouh Hamieda.
6.     Faisal Abdel Hameed Marrouh Hameida.
7.     Bassam Mohammad Marrouh Hameida.
8.     Ghassan Mohammad Marrouh Hameida.
9.     Samer Ahmad Marrouh Hameida.
10.   Sufian Ahmad Marrouh Hameida.
11.   Sameer Ahmad Marrouh Hameida.
12.   Izz Al Dein Awad Musa Taher.
13.   Shams Al Dein Awad Musa Taher.
14.   Nour Al Dein Awad Musa Taher.
15.   15Yousef Khamis Ahmad Harb.
The village of Iskaka is located 4 kilometers east of the city of Salfeet on a top of a hill overlooking the nearby village of Yasouf. According to the PCBS’s 2007 census, the population of Iskaka is about 1230. The main clans of the village are Harb, Taher, Lami, Hameida in addition to some smaller clans the roots of whom can be traced to the village of Al Teira located in the 1948 Palestine. The total area of the village is about 18,000 dunums while its built-up area is 600 dunum.