Friday, 5 September 2014

Protest in Wadi Fukin over illegal 1,000 acre settler land grab

Villagers from Wadi Fukin, west of Bethlehem, protested this afternoon against the planned confiscation of just under 1,000 acres (3799 dunums) of land by Israeli settlers. The group marched to the area that is to be expropriated following Friday prayers and was confronted by IOF forces. The peaceful demonstration was dispersed using tear gas.

The protest follows the Sunday's announcement by Israeli authorities that around 1,000 acres of land is to be confiscated for illegal settlements, affecting the Palestinian villages of Jaba'a, Nahalin, Surif and Wadi Fukin. The decision brought international condemnation.

Today's demonstration saw villagers defending their legitimate right to their land, waving Palestinian flags and brandishing banners that read "Stop confiscating our land" and "Stealing land makes you a thief, not a partner for peace." As olive saplings were planted on the hill, IOF forces pushed and shoved protesters back. Once tear gas dispersed the crowd, soldiers destroyed the olive trees.

Ahmed Sukar, head of the village council, highlighted that with the existing settlements of Alon Shevut, Betar Illit and Bet Ayin encircling the population they felt "surrounded, like an island". Only 2,500 dunums remain in Wadi Fukin from the 12,000 owned prior to 1948. Under the current plan around half of that land would also be lost. more


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