October 15, 2010

Settlers block farmers from reclaiming their land


Ma’an - BETHLEHEM – Dozens of settlers obstructed Palestinian farmers and workers as they attempted to reclaim agricultural land near the Israeli settlement of Newe Daniyyel, illegally built on lands belonging to farmers from Al-Khadr south of Bethlehem.

Ma’an’s correspondent explained that armed settlers hurried to stop farmers who brought a bulldozer to reclaim their land. Settlers, he added quoting one of the farmers, threatened to use force if work did not stop. Israeli forces and civil administration officials arrived on the scene and ordered the farmers to stop work and go to the civil administration offices in Etzion.

One of the landowners, Islam Jabir Ghneim, told Ma'an it was not the first time settlers stopped them working on their land. He explained that the family had official ownership documents from the British Mandate era and the Jordanian era for 156 dunums. Previously, he added, the Israeli civil administration recognized that the land belonged to the Palestinian family.

Owners of the land asserted they would continue reclamation efforts despite all obstacles.

Calls to Israel's Civil Administration were not immediately returned.

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