Farmers Access Land Behind Fence at Karme Zur

26 March 2007

Today, members of PSP attempted to accompany farmers from Beit Ommar to their land near the Karme Zur settlement to prune their grapevines. Last summer, the Israeli Occupation Forces built a fence through the farmers’ land, for “security reasons”. However, after an Israeli Supreme Court decision, the farmers were granted access to their land on the other side of the fence if coordinated with the DCO (the district representative of the Israeli Army who is the ‘liason’ to the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories).

When the farmers arrived at the gate at a time pre-arranged with the DCO, an IOF Humvee and an armed settler arrived and informed the farmers that they would not be allowed to access their land.First, they claimed that the farmers did not have the required paperwork, and then later claimed that only a limited number is allowed in at a given time. When the DCO arrived the farmers were allowed in, however 3 Palestinian and 1 international member of PSP were not allowed through the gate. The farmers were all made to show their I.D.s and physically searched before they were allowed access to their own land.

It is interesting to note that though the fence was built by the Israeli Army, it was the settler who had the key to the gate.