INDEPENDENT NEWS

How Much Harassment Can One Family Face?

Published: Mon 22 Sep 2003 09:51 AM
How Much Harassment Can One Family Face?
Jenin District, Palestine
Outside of Jenin in an area called Kharba Ghanib, on Monday two houses were demolished by the Israeli military, leaving 35 people homeless. Now, the families of this community have been barred from farming their land.
Over the last two years, over 100 dunams (25 acres) of family farmland has been taken by military force, annexed to the nearby Kadim settlement. What remains is unusable, due to harassment by Israeli soldiers and settlers, who claim the families' land is "too close to the settlement", situated nearly half a kilometer away.
Throughout the week, activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) have visited the families, on several occasions accompanying the families to their farmland, near the settlement. Gunfire and arson by settlers and indiscriminate machine-gun fire by Israeli soldiers make even plowing or watering crops a life- threatening activity. Again today, ISM and other human rights activists from the Jenin district will accompany the farmers, in hopes that the presence of outside observers will prevent violence.
Despite everything, even in the face of threats of further demolitions and seizures, the families of this community are determined to stay. Said Hassan Khalif, a farmer and father of five: "Our families' land in Haifa was taken in 1948, in 1968 we built these homes; (later) they took some of our land, then in 1980 they took a hundred dunams to build a settlement. Then they tell us we cannot farm on our land, which we have the (legal right) to. Then they killed 3 of our daughters. Then they take our houses. What else is there? Our homes, our children, and our land... what else is there to take?"

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