Saffa Farmers Prevented From Working Their Land, Threatened with Arrest

10 November 2010

Farmers in the Saffa valley were prevented by the Israeli military from working on their land Tuesday morning. Ali Ahmed Thalj Aady and Hani Nimr Aady went out with their families to work on their land at 8 am, when they were stopped by a group of Israeli soldiers. The soldiers prevented them from working on the land, and detained them in the sun without water for 5 hours. The farmers were told that the land is “unregistered,” and that if they return they will be arrested.

The incident came on the heels of the arrest of 6 international activists this past Sunday as they accompanied farmers to their land in Saffa. The internationals were also told that they were on unregistered land, and were threatened with arrest if they returned.

Saffa farmers have suffered continuous harassment from both the Bat Ayn settlers and the Israeli military. A series of settler attacks in 2009 left several farmers injured and much of the land destroyed, while a series of Closed Military Zone orders kept farmers from working the land for much of that year. In February of 2010 the military informed the farmers that the land had been declared state land, indicating their unequivocal intention to annex the land to the Bat Ayn settlement. All of the farmers have documents proving their ownership of the land, and have been working on the land without military interference for decades.