Press release, for immediate publication: The army ignores the violent takeover of Palestinian land next to Jalud by extremist settlers; following an appeal to the Supreme Court, it was announced last night that an order had been issued forbidding Israelis access to the area. Zvi Struk, who has been convicted in the past of abusing a Palestinian youth was involved in the violent takeover of the land of Ibrahim Fauzi, a Palestinian farmer from Jalud. Following an appeal against the army’s failure to deal with the incident, the Civil Administration announced last night that an order had been issued forbidding Israelis access to part of this area, and that action is being examined to end the takeover. The appeal was presented by RHR on behalf of Ibrahim.
By: Yariv Mohar
Following an appeal to the Supreme Court concerning the violent taking over of Palestinian land next to the village of Jalud, the State Attorney announced last night that the commander of the Central Officer Commanding had on 3.10.2012 signed an order closing the area next to Jalud and the outposts Esh Kodesh and Mitzpe Achia – part of the area is closed to everyone [the Palestinian farmer owning the land also had to coordinate with the authorities] and a closure order against Israelis was issued for another part of the land, which will be open to the Palestinian landowner.
Access is prevented to about 36 dunams, land owned by Ibrahim Fauzi from Jalud by extremist settlers, who used violence and threats, and sometimes were backed up by the army in driving him from his land. In 2011, extremist settlers planted a vineyard in part of Ibrahim’s land in an attempt to take over the area.
On 22.02.12 after writing letters to the army on the matter with no response, RHR lawyer Keren Knafo presented an appeal in the name of Fauzi Ibrahim from Jalud – to prevent others accessing his land with army support and no order. In their appeal, RHR requested a closure order against Israelis [see our reservations about the help we had no choice but to ask for, below]. Concerning the area where the vineyard had been planted, our organization asked for an order ending the takeover.
On 18.07.2012 – We updated the respondents – the army – on work that had begun to be carried out in accordance with the rules dealing with land disputes in the area of vineyard.
On 06.09.12 – The army told the Supreme Court that the head of the Civil Administration – after discussion and a tour of the area – believed that there was a reasonable suspicion that takeover was illegal, and on 30.08.12 he had signed an order demanding an affidavit within 15 days as to whether it was legal.
One of those who took over the land, Zvi [Zvika] Struk, took part in the appeal as an additional respondent. Zvi Struk was convicted of severely abusing a Palestinian youth 5 years’ ago. Two weeks’ ago, he went to prison for a violent incident after a farewell party attended by many, including Members of Knesset. We see that criminality against Palestinians is met with a supportive public climate.
Rabbi Arik Ascherman of RHR: “It is very positive that the area has been closed to Israelis. This also means that the state recognizes that this is Palestinian land. We hope that extremist settlers will not be able to enter the area, but we feel that, instead of declaring a closure order based on ethnicity – that of Israelis – it would be better for the administration to allow access only to the owners of the land and those invited in by them, and to deter trespassers.”
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