Israel confiscates 238 Dunums of land from Bardala, Jordan Valley

Press Release from Jameel in Tubas 30th April 2007
Receiving the notices of confiscating 238.6 dunums by the Israeli authority yesterday was painful for the residents of Bardala in the north of the Jordan Valley, especially for those who own agricultural land.

The notice said, “According to my authority as commander in the Israeli Defense Force in the area of Judea and Samaria, and since I believe the matter is necessary for military reasons … I announce confiscating these lands for military reasons to build the Security Wall.”

Bassam Sawafata, head of the Union of Agricultural Workers in the Federation of Palestinian Worker Unions in Tubas clarified that the tragedy actually began on Feb 16, 2004, the day when an order was issued by the Israeli authorities stating their intentions to build a fence preventing the land owners from working their land.

But residents and owners of the land had not lost hope, as they explored legal options. “Our hope has become true and has been broken at the same time,” one of them said. “After a long wait we received a paper from the International Committee of the Red Cross saying that the owners of the lands were allowed to enter through the gate and plant there. We received this the same day we received the land confiscation notices of our private property.” One of them commented ironically, “It starts as a joke and ends up by destroying us.”

Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian Liberation Organization, strongly denounced the Israeli decision describing it as unjustifiable and illegal and that it was part of the Israeli attempt to create new realities and facts, especially in the Jordan Valley, preceding any final peaceful negotiations.

In response to this, letters of protest will be sent to countries actively involved in the peace process, demanding that they pressure Israel to canceling its decision to confiscate the land. As well, the letters will ask the countries to call on Israel to stop these unilateral moves and rearrangements of the demographics of the land without dialogue or negotiation. The letter will affirm that the Palestinians seek a just and comprehensive peace based on the international agreements, which includes a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

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