Israeli Forces Deny Palestinian Farmers Access into their Land near Hebron

HEBRON, February 17, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces denied Palestinian farmers access into their farmlands near Umm Lasafa in the Yatta town boundary to the south of Hebron, said a local activist.

Local Coordinator of the Anti-Wall and Settlement Popular Committee Ratib Jabour said that forces prevented farmers of Abu ‘Ubaid, ‘Abu ‘Ali and Smairat families from entering their land to plow it.

Although an Israeli military court has passed a ruling allowing them to access their land, estimated at dozens of dunums, the Palestinian landowners were prevented by soldiers from plowing their lands under the pretext their land is surrounded by a barbed wire belonging to the the nearby illegal settlement post of Beit Yatir.

Jabour called on relevant human rights organizations to immediately intervene in order to stop these Israeli practices meant to prevent Palestinian locals from accessing their farmlands and pastures as a prelude to displace them and seize their land for settlement construction.

According to Umm Lasafa Village Profile prepared by the applied Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), the village occupies a total area of 5,000 dunums, including 2,000 dunums classified as agricultural land and 1,000 dunums seized for settlement construction.

The 2007 Palestinian Population Census data reveal that the total population is 835 residents. Economically, 29% of the total population depend on agriculture for their livelihood. The village is known for planting olive trees, grapes, almonds in addition to the field crops.

Data also indicate that the residents are also dependent upon animal rearing and keeping livestock. About 90% of the households rear and keep livestock. Most people keep sheep and goats with numbers equaling 2,500 and 200 respectively, in addition there are about 150 cattle.

Umm Lasafa village is surrounded by two settlements, “Karmae’l” and Ma’on”, both located to the east. Karmae’l and Ma‘een settlements collectively occupy 350 dunums of the village land. The village is surrounded to the southeast by bypass road ‘Route 60’ which occupied 40 dunums of the village land. The village is also closed by a metal gate, known as “Mashahed Erfa’ya Metal Gate” set up by Israeli military forces.