Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Mon 28.1.13, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Southern Hebron Hills
Nothing unusual at the Meitar crossing and along Highway 60, until… at the entrance to Deir Razah, which we’ve been glad to see has been open for a long time, a red sign has been erected warning Israelis against entering Area A. We stopped to find out what it means. The sign is, in fact, new, as of yesterday. How come?
A man who lives nearby tells us also about demolition orders issued for a number of buildings.
We called our friend N. who lives in the village. “Come, I’ll tell you,” he says. So we drove to his new grocery store.
“Yes,” he says, “the sign was erected yesterday, but about two weeks ago representatives of the Palestinian Authority, together with its engineer and representatives of an engineering firm from El Bireh which had been selected in a tender to develop the area, gathered residents of a number of villages – Deir Razah, Wadi al Shagaheh, Hadab al Fawwar, Khirbet Bisham, Hafayr Bisham, Qarameh and Tarameh – and told them: The lands of all these villages will be divided between Area B and Area C. Deir Razah, for example, has 2500 dunums. “We,” said the engineers, “will leave you 800 dunums for development in Area B, and the remainder will become Area C.” The plan presented to them transfers thousands of dunums belonging to each of the villages to Area C in a way that simply divides the villages in two. They were told that nature preserves and antiquities sites will be protected, but that roads will be paved and public buildings constructed. A 50-year plan.
The same applies to the other villages. The firm’s engineers asked the village representative if they had any objections. The response: “Give us detailed maps specifying the areas, along with detailed explanations, and we’ll tell you what we think.” “Alright,” said the engineers. They need satellite photos, etc. Wait. So they’re waiting “until the clouds disperse,” literally.
N. asks, and answers: These engineers certainly wouldn’t have come without authorization from the Palestinian Authority, but what’s going on here!? Because demolition orders have also been issued for buildings. People feel very bad, they’re very apprehensive and angry because everything’s going on over their heads without their involvement and without any explanation.
While this doesn’t appear to be an example of the Civil Administration’s arbitrary behavior, how can the Palestinian Authority relinquish thousands of dunums without explanation and without informing the residents in advance?
There are many questions and facts that have to be investigated from the legal perspective. So we called Hagit Ofran, from B’Tselem, and asked her to look into it.
We contacted S., a Palestinian attorney from Jerusalem who represents various organizations. He says he knows the people in the El Bireh firm (we have their names) and will look into it. He also suggested we involve people from “Bimkom.” We’ll do so.
Israel citizens are told there aren’t any talks with the Palestinian Authority because there’s allegedly no one to talk to, but suddenly things are happening in the field indicating that some kinds of talks are going on but without informing the local residents, without preserving their rights, and with the likely outcome being more and more of their land being expropriated on behalf of “Greater Israel.”
I can think of many questions to ask. All over the world citizens are being trampled by their corrupt regimes.
It’s quiet…quiet. Nothing new under the sun. As of today.