Farmers Demand Entrance to Land Near Karmei Tsur Settlement

31 May 2010

A dozen Palestinians, joined by eight internationals, stood at the gate separating farmers in Beit Ommar from their land. The land has been expropriated by the Israeli settlement of Karmei Tzur. The fence around the settlement denies the farmers regular access to their fields, so they are unable to properly tend to their fruit trees–their livelihood.

During the nonviolent demonstration, PSP co-coordinator Mousa Abu Maria placed two flags in the barbed wire above the fence. Even though it was a peaceful demonstration on Palestinian land, the Israeli military told the demonstrations to back away from the fence and to return to the village. The demonstrators walked back slowly through the fields, where empty tear gas canisters littered the ground between grape vines. Israeli soldiers have shot tear gas from the rooftops of Palestinian homes in Beit Ommar, forcing the families out into the street while their homes are occupied.

At Saturday’s demonstration, five Israeli soldiers crossed through the settlement fence and pursued a Palestinian videographer and a few other demonstrators most of the way to the village homes. They threatened the group with arrest if they did not leave the fields completely. No arrests were made.