17 June 2011
BEIT UMMAR: Twenty-one mature grapevines cut near Beit Ummar
On 1 June 2011, during the night,
twenty-one mature grape vines were cut in a Palestinian farmer’s vineyards
close to the Bat Ayin settlement near the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar. Beit Ummar residents attributed the
destruction to settlers from Bat Ayin, who have behaved aggressively toward the
farmers in the area.
(Issa), a Beit Ummar farmer who works for the farmers’ safety told CPTers on 4
June that four settlements surround Beit Ummar, which has made agricultural
work progressively more difficult for the farmers in the area. The Bat Ayin settlement is expanding and
creeping closer to the Palestinian village, making any work in the fields still
Ta’ayush, an Israeli peace activist
group, also had four members visiting on 4 June. One member spoke about
the ways that Israel has historically adopted to take increasing amounts of
Palestinian land and claim it all as state land:
1. Confiscate the grazing land by
instituting the law that if the land is not worked for three years, it
automatically becomes state land.
2. Declare that all the mountains are state
land, for security purposes.
3. Declare that state lands are public
lands also. The Israeli government can then allot these public lands to
groups that want to start a settlement.
(The Israeli government has allotted only one parcel of land since 1967 to
Another Israeli activist spoke about the tremendous need she sees for Americans
to take action—not only for the sake of the Palestinians but for the Israeli
people as well. “The Israelis are blind,” she said. “For the Americans to keep supporting
Israel with $11,000,000/day to keep the settlements and the military strong
here, it is like giving drugs to your girlfriend. It’s like putting a drunken
person behind the wheel. You must work with your government. It is killing us.”
More photos of the damage are available here.