Saturday, August 15 2009 Cultivating Land at Halhul

Taayush and international activists joined Palestinians from the Halhul area in an attempt to work their lands close to the entrance of Karmei Tzur colony. Although the land owners are repeatedly reassured that they are entitled to work there any time they wish, they are chased away every time they try to approach the area. Colonists recently took advantage of the fact that the owners are prevented from approaching their land and began to take over and use them for their own purposes. Some moments after we arrived and began to work, army forces arrived and demanded we leave forthwith. Although we presented documents verifying the farmers’ right to work these lots undisrupted, and forbidding the removal of the farmers and their accompaniers, shortly thereafter a ‘closed military area’ order was issued. Our demands for explanations were not met. Even the army’s explicit policy not to issue such orders did not impress the commander on the ground. Under such circumstances we refused to leave. The soldiers began to push the farmers and their accompaniers out of the area, and three activists who refused to leave were detained and released after brief police interrogation.