Affidavit No. 4899/2009

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Tareq Tawfiq Mas’oud Qabaha, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 990156077, born on 29 January 1955, Chairman of the Village Council of Toura al-Gharbiyya, and a resident of Toura al-Gharbiyya village, Jenin Governorate, would like to declare the following:

The village of Toura al-Gharbiyya is located approximately 23 kilometres west of the city of Jenin. It houses 1,500 residents. At around 11:00 am on 21 May 2009, an Israeli military force, including two military jeeps and a white jeep belonging to the Israeli Construction and Zoning Department, arrived to the area of “al-Dabba and Wad Raslan.” They stopped at a distance of
about 100 metres south of the village houses. This area is an open agricultural field situated between the villages of Ya’bad, Toura al-Gharbiyya, and al-Khuljan.

Soldiers left paper files on several pieces of land in that area. The military force then left without  having discussing any of this with the citizens. Having arrived to the area, we found out that those papers were issued by the Israeli Defence Army and Officer in Charge of Governmental Properties. They were notices for the evacuation and confiscation of land located in the area. We also found an aerial map enclosed with the evacuation orders. Upon scrutiny, members of the Village Council realised that the land to be confiscated by the Israeli occupying authorities belonged to residents of the town of Ya’bad and the village of Toura al-Gharbiyya. In particular, the map showed a piece of land belonging to ‘Umar Rafiq Qabaha, a resident of the village of Toura al-Gharbiyya. Located in Block no. 20388, Qabaha’s land measures 50 dunums. It is cultivated with olive and almond trees and is part of the land belonging to the village of Toura al- Gharbiyya. The rest of the land to be seized measures a total of 350 dunums and belongs to residents of the villages and towns of Toura al-Sharqiyya, Nazlet Zeid, and Ya’bad. Residents own a large area of those lands and hold land registration certificates issued by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which was in charge of this land prior to the Israeli occupation in 1967.

So far, there is not a clear reason for the confiscation. However, we fear that the goal is to construct an Israeli settlement in the area or establish Israeli factories, or both. This means that a new fact on the ground will be established in the area, imposing further restrictions on the residents, which will eventually force them to leave. The area is very close to the Separation Wall, which is built north and west of the village. The land to be seized is located at a distance of one kilometre or less away from the Wall.

According to the confiscation orders, owners must evacuate the indicated lands within a period of 45 days. Otherwise, the Israeli occupying authorities will have force their evacuation at the expense of the landowners. Execution of these confiscation orders, including the uprooting of olive and almond trees, means that landowners will be deprived of their sole source of income, which they earn from the harvest of these trees. Take into account that residents of the area have been prevented from accessing their workplaces inside the Green Line after the Separation Wall was constructed.

It should be noted that the land has been in the possession of their Palestinian rightful owners, who have continuously worker on these lands, for many years. They are more entitled to the land than the Israeli occupying authorities, which are pursuing their specific goals. Therefore, I appeal to the relevant authorities to cancel the confiscation orders issued against residents of the village of Toura al-Gharbiyya and other neighbouring villages.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4899/2009
  • Field researcher: Tareq al-Haj Mahmoud
  • Affidavit Date: 26 May 2009
  • Name: Tareq Tawfiq Mas’oud Qabaha