Affidavit No. 4898/2009

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, Muhammad ‘Abed Anis Qabaha, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 980155253, born on 23 April 1967, Director of the Civil Status Department, and a resident of Ya’bad town, Jenin Governorate, would like to declare the following:

Housing 15,000 residents, the town of Ya’bad is located approximately 15 kilometres west of the city of Jenin. I own a piece of agricultural land north of the town of Ya’bad, where I was born. Measuring 52 dunums, the land is cultivated with olive and almond trees as well as with grapevines. Two wells – measuring 120 cubic metres each – are also dug on the land. The land is fertile and produces an olive harvest and olive oil every year. Olives are the main source of livelihood of my family. The produce helps sustain 35 members of my family, including my brothers, their wives, and children and myself. The land is located between three residential localities, namely the town of Ya’bad and the villages of Toura and al-Khuljan.

On 21 May 2005, an Israeli military force, including green military jeeps and a distinct white jeep belonging to the Israeli Department of Construction and Zoning, raided the area. Israeli troops distributed a number of papers or flyers. After they left, I hurried to my land. Like other landowners, I found a paper file, including a notice demanding the evacuation of my land and an aerial map indicating the exact location of my piece of land; that is Block No. 24.16.11 and Lot no. 9. The map also showed other pieces of land. The total area of land, which the Israeli occupying authorities intend to confiscate measures 350 dunums, all of which is cultivated with olive trees. The affected land is located in an area called ‘Qatayen Suleiman’, which belongs to residents of Ya’bad. The confiscation order was issued by Israeli military authorities, and is to be executed within 45 days from the date of service. During this time, we are legally allowed to challenge the confiscation of our lands.

All pieces of land to be confiscated are situated at a distance of two kilometres away from the Separation Wall, built in the north-western area of the affected land. This probably means that the confiscation is planned in order to expand the Wall and annex more land from Ya’bad.

Another objective might be to construct an Israeli industrial zone or a settlement that contains an industrial zone, thereby posing a real threat to the whole area. In addition to pollution, settlers would be constantly present in the area, which means that certain restrictive measures would be imposed, such as the obstruction of Palestinians’ movement and the limiting of access to our lands. While the confiscation orders do not reveal the reasons for the confiscation of our lands, we will know for sure, once the Israeli authorities start implementing the orders.

As a result of the unjustified confiscation of our lands, the Israeli occupying authorities will deprive us of our property, olive trees, and main source of income. In light of this confiscation order, I appeal to all human rights and humanitarian organisations to immediately take action and halt execution of the confiscation of this vast area of land. Hundreds of residents are making a living from these confiscated lands. In other words, once the confiscation order is executed, all these people will lose their main sources of income.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4898/2009
  • Field researcher: Tareq al-Haj Mahmoud
  • Affidavit Date: 25 May 2009
  • Name: Muhammad ‘Abed Anis Qabaha