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Affidavit No. 5102/2009

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Rashed Ahmad al-Sheikh Muhammad, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 991075714, born in 1934, a farmer, and a resident of the Beit Sourik village, Jerusalem Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I am a Palestinian citizen. I was born and raised in the village of Beit Sourik west of the city of Jerusalem. Like any Palestinian villager, I own several pieces of land in my village of Beit Sourik. My brothers and I inherited this land from our grandfathers and fathers. I owned 30 dunums of land west of the village.

My suffering started in 1981 when a large area of my family’s land was confiscated to construct the settlement of Radar. In the area west of our village, only 30 dunums of land located southeast of the said settlement were left for me and for my family. At the beginning of 2004, the Israeli occupying authorities began to build the Separation Wall. At this stage, my family and I lost approximately 5 dunums of land, on which the Wall was constructed. These five dunums, on which the Wall was built, had been cultivated with 136 olive trees, 24 palms, 30 almond trees and four apricot trees, which were all uprooted. Only 25 dunums, which were isolated behind the Wall, were left for me and for my family. The Israeli occupying authorities promised us that they would install gates at the Wall in order to allow us to reach our land and tend it. Indeed, two gates with Numbers 6062 and 6150 were installed along the Wall. As these were designated to the village residents, landowners were assigned to the Wall gates in accordance with the locations of their pieces of land. The situation continued like this until 2008. The last time we were allowed to access our land was on 17 December 2008. Between 2004 and the latter date, I used to submit applications to the Palestinian Civil Coordination Office and obtain a permit that allowed me to reach the land which I owned. The permit designated that I use Gate No. 6062 to cross to my land. In May 2008, I planted on this land 90 olive trees, 52 peach trees, 70 grape seedlings, 15 almond trees, 6 apricot trees and 5 fig trees through a project sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Like I said, the last time I tended the land I owned was on 17 December 2008. Since that day, the occupying authorities have not granted me a permit to access the land, which is only 300 metres away from the wall of the settlement of Radar.

Farmers in general, and I in particular, have not been able to reach our land this year, and specifically this month which marks the beginning of the olive harvest season. I should note that after I harvested the olive crops last year, I produced 40 canisters of olive oil. Although eight days have elapsed from the olive harvest season this year, which started on 11 October 2009, I am not able to reach my grove. Consequently, this will threaten the olive harvest season this year. Moreover, this denial of access threatens the trees, which I cultivated several months ago through (a special) ICRC project. Though the occupying authorities facilitated our access while the project was being implemented, we are bewildered with their prevention today. The last time I went to the Wall gate No. 6062 was on 11 October 2009 at the beginning of the season. Approximately 400 villagers from my town of Beit Sourik were in my company. However, Israeli Border Guard officers prevented us from accessing the land despite the fact that they were aware that the season had begun.

 

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5102/2009
  • Field researcher: Manaf Abbas
  • Affidavit Date: 17 October 2009
  • Name: Rashed Ahmad al-Sheikh Muhammad
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