Fruit Trees Uprooted by Israeli Military in Nahalin

24 May 2010

On May 24th at around 9:00 a.m. the people of Nahalin woke up to see Israeli Bulldozers razing their land. The occupation forces targeted an area of about 5 dunums, called Jabal Abu Alqruun, in what is believed to be part of a plan to bulldoze and take over 2000 dunums belonging to this village south-west of Bethlehem. Some trees in the area were destroyed last year and were replanted. These new trees, along with dozens of older trees, clearly used and cared for for decades, were all uprooted.

The proprietors of the land have been identified as Nahalin residents Daoud Mahmood, Jameel Mahmood, A’ali Muhammad Taha and Hasan Muhammad A’ali Salah. Although they possess documents that prove their ownership, the Israeli military has refused to recognize them and claims that the land is owned by the Israeli state.

Members of the Palestine Solidarity Project arrived at 10:30 a.m. to find dozens of uprooted grape, fig and olive trees. The bulldozer was being accompanied and protected by Israeli civilians and military personnel. In addition, military vehicles and border police blocked the main path towards the lands, leaving the horrified residents of Nahalin impotent to do anything but observe from a distance the destructive advance of the machines.

Villagers and internationals eventually approached the soldiers blocking the path to inquire about the destruction of cultivated Palestinian lands, particularly during an alleged Israeli “construction freeze” and “peace negotiations” between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. As usual, the occupation forces immediately declared the area a “closed military zone” and proceeded to threaten and attack the activists, threatening a man with a video camera while attempting to take his footage, as well as pushing and hitting another international activist attempting to document the destruction.