HEBRON: Settlers seize 2000 dunams of Palestinian farmland around Givat Ha Harsina

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CPTnet
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January 21, 2003
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HEBRON: Settlers seize 2000 dunams of Palestinian farmland around Givat Ha
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Harsina
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<P>by Jerry Levin
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<P>Israeli settlers from the two large settlements of Givat Ha Harsina and
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Kiryat Arba, situated along Hebron's eastern edge, have escalated their
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campaign of annexing Palestinian farmland lying between the two settlements.
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<P>Harsina, like most Israeli West Bank settlements, sits on top of a hill.
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Settlers are erecting the new fence about four hundred meters (about one
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quarter of a mile) downhill from the settlement's current fence line.
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Guarded by Israeli soldiers and armed settlement security guards,settlers
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operating bulldozers, backhoes, posthole diggers, and dump trucks have been
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speedily tearing up, leveling, and graveling fifteen-meter wide swaths of
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prime Palestinian farmland. Over these swaths they are laying down several
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thousand meters of new high so called &quot;security fences&quot; equipped with
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electronic sensors.
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<P>Palestinians living below the settlement told CPT that this latest expansion
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began Monday, January 18th. CPTers Maureen Jack, Barbara Martens, Jerry
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Levin, Art Gish, and CPT visitor Dorah Rosen went to Harsina where they
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observed Asian laborers as well as teenage Israeli boys (who said they had
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been given time off from school) slipping metal fence posts into newly dug
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holes, cementing them in place, and then attaching ten foot high sections of
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metal mesh fencing to the posts. One farmer, whose land and house is in the
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path of the fence, reported how he could do nothing but stand by helplessly
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and watch while one hundred olive trees and four wells
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on his fifty-year-old farm were destroyed.
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<P>While following the route of the new fence, the CPTers encountered Abdel
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Hadi Hantash, of the Hebron Land Defense Committee, a local expert on
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annexation of Palestinian land. He estimated that about two thousand dunams
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(one dunam=one quarter of an acre) around Harsina is in the process of being
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annexed by the settlement. Added to a vast tract of thirty-five hundred
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dunams running down from Harsina eastward to the settlers-only highway
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running between Harsina and Kiryat Arba, Palestinians farming in the area
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will have lost more than five thousand dunams in less than a year.
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<P>Harsina lies about a mile to the north of Kiryat Arba, where the pace of the
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latest campaign of land annexation is also escalating. (See January 9
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release, &quot;Creeping Annexation spreading East and West from Wadi al Ghroos.&quot;
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An initial estimate of the number of dunams affected there was a thousand.
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Abdel Hadi Hantash remarked that combining those one thousand
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dunams with about six hundred seized and fenced off last year, the total
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number of annexed dunams between Kiryat Arba and Harsina comes to about
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about six thousand five hundred.
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<P>If and when the two settlements' separate fencing systems are further
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extended to a point where they actually connect, a southern West Bank
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version of the more than one hundred mile &quot;annexation wall&quot; being rushed to
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completion in the northern West Bank will become a sudden reality around
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Kiryat Arba and Harsina.
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