On 6 April, two Israeli bulldozers under the protection of Israeli military forces began excavating land owned by Palestinians in the village of al-Jalma, north of Jenin.
Saleh Mahmoud Abu Farha – al-Jalma – Jenin
Saleh, 50, along with his siblings and cousins, inherited 15 Dunums of agricultural land from his father and uncle. The land is located in al-Jalma village and runs parallel to an Israeli crossing, also named al-Jalma. The crossing was previously expanded in 2008.
On 22 March 2013, an Israeli military jeep arrived at Abu Farha’s property where Saleh and his brother were present. Four soldiers stepped out of the jeep and one of them handed the men a written order for the confiscation of part of their inherited land. The confiscation was intended to allow for the expansion of the al-Jalma crossing. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 8515/2013)
On Sunday 6 April at approximately 12:00 pm, two Israeli bulldozers under the protection of Israeli military forces arrived at Abu Farha’s land. The soldiers erected barbed wire around approximately five Dunums of land, located to the east of the checkpoint. The bulldozers then began excavating the land, causing extensive damage.
The Israeli authorities intend to construct a road on the confiscated land, allowing for Israeli military jeeps to pass by. Previously, Israeli military jeeps used other routes surrounding al-Jalma crossing, including the road that Israeli-licensed civilian cars use.
While the bulldozers were carrying out the process, Saleh protested the confiscation of his land to the Israeli soldiers present. One of the officers suggested that Saleh submit a complaint to the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) and demand reparation. Saleh, however, believes this to be insufficient as submitting a complaint to the ICA only allows for the possibility of financial compensation and will not result in his land being returned.
Prior to the confiscation, Saleh used the land in question as a parking lot and charged customers for its use, providing a source of income for himself and his family. As a result of the Israeli confiscation of the land, this source of income is no longer available. Excavations on the Abu Farha land are ongoing and the Israeli authorities have erected lights in the vicinity to facilitate further construction work. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9516/2014)
As an Occupying Power, Israel is bound by international humanitarian law and as such is prohibited from destroying private or public property in the occupied territory except when such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. The existence of alternative routes, which Israeli military jeeps have previously used in the vicinity of al-Jalma checkpoint, suggest that the appropriation and destruction of the Abu Farha family’s land is not rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. In addition, the numerous Israeli checkpoints and crossings located throughout the OPT impose an ongoing restriction on Palestinians’ freedom of movement in violation of Israel’s obligations under international human rights law.