Mayor of Beit Ommar Prohibited from Building on Land

2 November 2009

Nasri 3 smallApproximately 1 month ago Nasri Sabarneh, former mayor of Beit Ommar, began constructing a small building on his land near the Karmei Tsur settlement. His land was cut in half in 2006 by the construction of a secondary “security” fence around the settlement, but technically the farmers of the area retained their legal right to access their land on both sides of the fence. With this in mind, Sabarneh began to build a small structure on the Beit Ommar side of the fence on his land as a place to rest and retain some tools for working on his grave vines in the area. The Israeli military approached him while he was working on the land and insisted that he needed a court order to allow him to continue building. He presented documents demonstrating that he owned the land, but this was not sufficient for the military commander, though it was not clear on what basis he was demanding a court permit. The area in which the mayor was building has recently been disputed by the Israeli military as being area ‘C’, which would prohibit Palestinian construction, but all of Beit Ommar, including the area in question, has been area ‘B’ since the designations began in the mid 1990′s, which only requires approval of the city council (headed by the Mayor) for building. Nasri Sabarneh is currently pursuing the case through legal avenues, but has had to stop construction, for now.