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Home Archive 05/September/2016 03:41 PM

Qusra: Battling against Israeli settlement construction

by Samer Odeh

NABLUS, September 5, 2016 (WAFA) – Tareq Abu Rida, 50, a farmer from Qusra, a village south of Nablus, goes with his wife every day to work on his land surrounded by the Israeli settlement of Migdalim, located at the main entrance to his village, and Esh Kodesh, a settlement outpost at the southern part of the village.

Abu Rida is afraid that the settlements are going to gradually eat away at his land. He had already lost parts of it when Israel expropriated a large chunk of it to expand settlements in the area. He was also notified that shacks he had set up on his land will be demolished.

Recalling how Israel took over his 7-dunum plot and razed the land, Abu Rida says that he one day heard over mosque loudspeakers in the village that Israeli bulldozers were working on villagers’ land.

“I was getting ready to head to my land one day when I heard over the mosque loudspeakers that bulldozers were razing farmlands in the eastern part where my land is located to expand Migdalim settlement,” he told WAFA.

 “The moment I heard this I rushed to my land, which for me is my life. It’s all that I have and it is an important part of my life,” he added.

Abu Rida said he was beaten and had to be hospitalized several times as a result of clashes between Israeli troops and residents.

Qusra is well known for olive cultivation. It is flanked by three Israeli settlements: Migdalim, built in 1981, Esh Kodesh, 2000, and Ahiya, 2001.

The peace and serenity and the green land that have once existed in the village are now gone after the construction of the settlements and settlers’ terrorization of the local people, including uprooting trees and torching mosques and houses.

Qusra covers an area of 17,000 dunums, including about 9,000 olive-cultivated dunums that were seized by Israeli occupation authorities to expand area settlements and build new settlement outposts.

Last month, Israeli bulldozers razed over 18 dunums of farmland at the entrance to the village to expand Migdalim claiming it was for military purposes and they uprooted trees and seized them.

 “Production of olive oil and other olive products have declined in recent years as a result of Israeli assaults against the farmland,” acting mayor of Qusra, Abdul Athim Wadi told WAFA.

He expressed concern about Israeli plans to turn Qusra’s main road into a road for the settlers only, which means farmers will not have access to their farmland in the eastern part of the town.

Wadi said that Israel takes the land in order to set up settlement outposts.

According to a report on Israeli violations in August issued by Abdullah Hourani Center for Studies and Research, the occupation authorities announced tenders for the construction of 7,466 new housing units in Israeli settlements across the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.



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