Critical Situation:
Israelis Bulldozing Jayyous

Pamela Olson
20 December 2004

New Pictures!

They look pretty pastoral because I've mostly taken pictures of Jayyous, which reminds me of all the best parts of my childhood -- dozens of cousins running around, meals together, picking fresh fruits off trees and from the garden, spending lots of time out under the sky, appreciating each other and laughing a lot. The life is really gorgeous. The fact that it's being destroyed and stolen is beyond belief, impossible to convey.

I haven't taken many pictures of my citified life in Ramallah. You know how it goes: never taking enough pictures of things until you are about to leave them. I took all the ones in Jayyous because I was afraid it might be my last chance to do so. By next year, things could change tremendously for the worse.

Israelis are bulldozing Jayyous land as we speak for a new settlement (see below). This might leave Jayyous's land, already half-destroyed and de facto annexed by Israel, open to permanent annexation by Israel, which would effectively destroy the village and the lives of all my friends and their friends and family there.



As of 20 December 2004, according to a peace activist in Israel:

The bulldozers came back to the Jayyous land this morning, after yesterday's fracas, arrest and uprootings.

The trees are being uprooted despite army (DCO Kedumim) assurances that there would be a meeting with the army on the land at 1.00 p.m. today. The army having refused until now even to come and review that situation on site... By 1.00 p.m. there will be no trees left to discuss.

The trees are being uprooted despite the surveyor's report of last week not having yet been processed by the DCO and Palestinians together. Uprooted, the final trees, despite the lawyer for the settlers agreeing that nothing would happen on the land until Friday.

The trees are being shipped out and sold on the black market despite a meeting planned between lawyers and DCO and Palestinian landowners tomorrow at Beit El Military Court to survey maps, to see why the wrong number appears on settler paperwork.

Someone is lying or at least working in extremely bad faith as the landowners firmly believe their land has not been sold. The army say they are only fulfilling orders.

The Palestinian lawyers believe there is no chance of success in going to Bagatz to stop the bulldozers, because the settlers have paperwork "proving" that they own the land. Even though it was never sold to them and the Palestinians have not seen that paperwork or deed of sale, etc.



Earlier update 19 December:


At 10.30 a.m. today a private company, Sunduk Madrasat Israel company, situated in the settlement of Zufin, returned to Jayyous land with heavy machinery despite the fact that it is still heavily disputed as to ownership. One of them told me over the phone he had a fax letter from DCO Kedumim (Israeli settlement authority) allowing him to work the land. The army was present during the work - four soldiers, but left in the middle, leaving five private security guards only.

DCO Kedumim (Officer Gilad) said the Palestinians "knew from last week what the situation is, the settlers own the land, have title deeds and can work on it." The latter statement is in dispute as to the Palestinian, Tawfiq Salim, who says there is a mistake in the parcel numbers which the company has listed and this is still being explored by lawyers needing to check maps on file at Beit El Military Court, together with the recent land survey report. He never sold his land which is number 32. Nor is he the neighbour of the land sold (786 or 788), which is 3 kms away. According to the Israeli court decision, "all the lands are part of 786 and 788."

The Israeli authorities have recently changed all the numbers of the land parcels, so without a map the Palestinians could not understand what land was being discussed for bulldozing.

There was supposed to be a 9.00 a.m. meeting at Kedumim DCO today between the Palestinians' lawyer (Hesham Nasser), the landowners, plus Moshe Glick lawyer for the company and quarry, and Yigal Tzufi of Civil Administration.

This morning, Abu Azzam was told the army cancelled it because Yigal Tzufi could not make it and Abu Azzam was waiting for another appointment. The lawyer Hesham Nasser is intending to go on Tuesday to Beit El, with DCO liaison, to try to review the maps on file there, to determine if there has not been some mistake following a 1996 Court decision which allowed both Tawfiq and Abu Azzam to keep their land, while the State designated 1,362 dunums of Jayyous land as "state land".

The Zufin settlement was established in 1992 and the quarry started work in 1993 on that land, years before the Court ruled on its legal status. According to Captain Mansour of DCO, Tawfiq's land was sold and registered in 2002, BUT TAWFIQ SAYS HE DID NOT SELL IT.

The landowners could only get through the gate at 12.30 when it opened. 50 more trees (according to a Japanese journalist who filmed and photographed events) had been newly uprooted. Three trucks were seen leaving, probably with trees under tarpaulin.

Abu Azzam heard from his lawyer that Moshe Glick, the settlers' lawyer, issued orders for the bulldozer to stop work. The bulldozer did not stop. So farmer knelt in front of it, and another threw rocks at the bulldozer's glass window, and it stopped. The driver and one security guard were lightly injured in the ensuing scuffle. After the bulldozer had been stopped, they and bulldozer retreated and withdrew. The army arrived back after this and arrested a Palestinian, Mohammed Jamil. In the evening (4.30 p.m.) another Palestinian child (age 11) was also arrested, Nur Abdulrahim Salim.

There was a visit yesterday to Jayyous of the EU Ambassador for the Middle East Peace Process, Marc Otte (the Swedish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and British diplomats have visited in recent days), and there are plans to return in the forthcoming days to update last week's map, as the situation is worse than originally estimated. There is a real danger much more of the village's land may be "grabbed" by the state/settlers as it has fallen fallow, due to the inability of the farmers to reach it because of the Fence/Wall, despite original promises that they would have reasonable access.

The village is currently without electricity, so photographs are not yet available online. Doi is a professional journalist but may be open to allowing some of his film footage and stills to be used.

For further details: Abu Azzam (Sharif Omar) 0547-369771 / 09-2900116 Doi Toshikuni (Japanese journalist): 0547-475466 Angela: 0547-366393 / 02-6715198


Previous update, 16 December:

An editorial in Haaretz today ("Not one single settlement "www.haaretz.com) comments, "...there is energetic ground-breaking work going on in an attempt to establish new facts on the ground. The suspicion is that the government is trying to draw up a new map strewn with Jewish settlement points before the Americans come to the region to draw their own map fo the settlements."

"Anyone who has been following the settlement project since its inception knows that most of it has come about using the method of promises are one thing, winks are another thing and construction is quite another."


Latest developments in Jayyous (12/16/04)

Farmers expect bulldozing of their land to resume at any time.

On Thursday, Dec. 9th Israeli contractors guarded by settlers arrived with earthmoving equipment and uprooted 117 olive trees belonging to a Jayyous farmer on the 75% of Jayyous’ remaining land that is trapped behind the Separation Barrier. Some trees were trucked to Israel to be sold. When the farmers protested, they were shown a document of sale of the land to the settlers. Photos and details of the incident can be seen at


On Sunday, Dec. 12th farmers went to the regional military authority at the settlement of Kedumim to contest the documents and are now engaged in a legal battle to prove that the proof of sale was forged. However the Israeli army has indicated to the farmers that they are confident the Israeli settlers can have the land.

Temporary street signs in Hebrew have been placed on these lands, including one that says, "Sharon Street." Another farmer, Sharif Omar (Abu Azzam), owns land which is designated on the new map for an expanded Israeli military training ground; on Sunday the Israeli military authority denied that his land has been confiscated. His lawyer expects that the army plans to use it on a "temporary" basis (months or years).

As Sharif Omar will not be allowed to enter a restricted military area, he will have no ability to farm his land, and he anticipates that his 1,300 fruit and olive trees will die. However, he cannot contest this in military court until he is served with a notice from the Israeli government. Often, construction on the land begins before a notice ever arrives.

It seems this is also the status of the land owned by the other farmers on the land planned for the building of 1,500 - 4,000 Jewish-only housing units. (3,500 native villagers live in Jayyous while 4000 villagers live in exile.) The settlement is planned to be constructed in a long strip which will also block access from the village to land on the other side of it. It is possible that some of the village homes will be destroyed because their proximity to the settlement will be a “security” concern to the armed settlers.

300 of Jayyous’ 520 families are already relying on humanitarian aid to survive. This settlement spells the end of the road for a pastoral village which was once self-sufficient.

Links to reports with more detail can be found below. Watch for a special report on Jayyous on Mon 12/20/04 on www.flashoints.net


As a result of our phone calls over the past two weeks, the US State Department, RI Senators, US Embassy to Israel and US Consulate are well aware of the situation in Jayyous. Senator Chafee is sending a letter to the State Department about the situation. This is a good step, but it is unlikely that this in itself will stop the settlement. Our goal now is to call and write all our senators, especially members of the Foreign Relations Sub-Committee, to insist that they take strong action against the building of another Israeli settlement in Jayyous.

Please take a few of the following actions every day until the settlement is stopped. Our government is deeply committed to Israel’s interests and success in getting strong action will depend upon us overwhelming them with the volume of our calls and our insistence that our taxes and political cover not be used to destroy the community of Jayyous.


1. Call your Senators at their DC offices: 1-800-839-5276.

Insist that they explain what action they are taking to stop the settlement.

Additional contact info for your senators can be found at:


U.S. Rep. Lois Capps has spoken out strongly against the Wall in the past

2. Call the members of the Foreign Relations Sub-committee (Near East): 1-800-839-5276.

Barbara Boxer, Ranking Member (CA) Jon S. Corzine (NJ) John D. Rockefeller(WV) Paul S. Sarbanes (MD) Lincoln Chafee, Chairman (RI) Chuck Hagel (NE) Sam Brownback (KS) George V. Voinovich (OH)

Demand that they convey they support of Chafee’s initiative to the State Department and follow with strong action to stop the settlement.

3. Fax or write William Burns at the State Dept. as he won’t take our calls. They are part of the executive branch and state that the US officially opposes Israel’s construction of new settlements, yet they say they are unable to take action without orders.

William Burns, State Dept, NEA/IPA, Rm 6251, 2201 "C" St. WA DC 20520, Fax: 202 736 4461.

4. Fax or email the Israeli Ministry of Justice:

Fax: 011 972 2 6285438, Email: sar@justice.gov.il.

Demand that Israel cease all confiscation of Jayyous land through forged documents or any other means.

5. Call Israeli State Land Officer Galad at the Kedumim settlement which oversees the occupation of Jayyous: (from US) 011 972 057 772 9785.

6. Please report your participation and anything you learned in your conversations to: RIQA@juno.com so we can gauge the progress of this campaign.


On Nov. 29th, farmers in the Palestinian agricultural village of Jayyous found Israeli construction crews with US-made Caterpillar earthmoving equipment destroying village farmland. The construction workers said that they had orders from the Israeli army to build 80 Jewish housing units as the start of a settlement called Zufim North and expect they may use 500 acres of land belonging to 79 Jayyous families.

Families of the community of Jayyous have farmed their ancestral orchards and fields for many hundreds of years. They first lost 500 acres of land in 1948 to Israel. The rest of Jayyous was captured in 1967 by Israel and in the years since Israel has stolen more and more of the land and water resources of the Jayyous community.

The Jewish settlement of Zufim was built in 1989 on land belonging to Jayyous families. Jewish setters from Zufim in the past have stoned Palestinian farmers and stolen their agricultural produce. The LIDAR corporation is the developer for Zufim. LIDAR is owned by Lev Leviev, who is said to be the richest man in Israel and is associated with the Lubavitch Chassidic sect which opposes giving any land to a Palestinan state, believing God meant for all the land "between the river and the sea" to be settled by Jews.

LIDAR confiscated additional land from Palestinian farmer Sharif Omar for the building of the Zufim North quarry a few years ago. The quarry has blasted deeper and deeper into the farm land and is now just 15 feet from the water reservoir which provides most of the water for Jayyous' farmers and risks being destroyed by the explosions.

Two years ago farmers in Jayyous found military orders in their orchards saying that some of their farmland would be destroyed for the building of a Seperation Barrier that would run 6km deep into Jayyous land from the Green line (Israel/West Bank border) and 75% of their remaining land would be trapped behind this barrier.

Jayyous organized active non-violent campaigns to resist this. Jayyous farmers offered to share the cost of the wall to have it built on the green line instead of severing their land, but Israel was not interested. Israel stated the Barrier was for security, not illegal land theft, but farmers anticipated that the Barrier would be used to annex existing Jewish settlements and additional land to Israel to be used as “facts on the ground” in further negotiatons.

Farmer Sharif Omar testified at the Hague regarding the impact of the Barrier on his community. The US House of Representatives passed a resolution opposing the IC’s ruling regarding the illegal nature of the Barrier. Since the creation of the barrier farmers have struggled to access their land behind the barrier.

Israel would only allow access through the successful application for a temporary permit; since the farmers finally accepted that they would have to do this, permits have often been issued to babies, dead people, people living abroad, or those over 50 while many of the farmers whose families and community depend on the land have been denied permits. This, along with restriction from taking produce to markets, has resulted in the economic collapse of this agricultural community, and devastating anguish and despair for its people whose identity and livelihood is drawn from the land. In the past Israel has prevented Palestinian farmers from access to their land and then declared the land abandoned and confiscated it under the Ottoman Land Law of 1858.

The first warning of the current land confiscation came in mid-July of this year, when a group of Jewish settlers and Israeli army troops arrived in buses and jeeps and filmed staged confrontations, some of the Israeli settlers playing the part of Palestinians. Afterwards, Jayyous residents saw signs posted in the area with the names of famous Zionists, and saw that further properties had been marked to be confiscated.

A new dirt road was built leading towards the illegal settlement of Zufim, which has already confiscated 450 acres of Jayyous' farm land. in November, Military Order #04/75646-2004 was issued, stating that "no building is to be allowed within a 300 meter wide area on the eastern side of the Wall," further hampering development of towns already hemmed in by the barrier, and possibly presaging demolition of already-built structures near the fence. (StopTheWall.org, Dec. 1)

Intervews with a farmer and a landowner from Jayyous about the situation can be heard online at www.flashpoints.net (report from Wednesday, Dec. 1st: Photos of Jayyous can be found at www.jayyousonline.org. in the Arabic section of the website at the blue highlighted tab. We also have video interviews and footage from Jayyous available.

Efforts in the US to halt the settlement:

When Jayyous first informed us of the situation on (see email below) RIQA and others around the country began to contact our Senators, the State Dept, The US Consulate in Israel and the US Embassy in Jerusalem to inform them of the situation and demand that they intervene. One of the RI organizers had several meetings with government representatives in Washington to explain the situation in detail with photos and maps. The state department continues to tell us that although they are part of the executive branch, and although the US position officially opposes the building of settlements, they have no power to intervene, our government does not tell Israel what to do. We were told that not since the time of James Baker has the State Dept had that kind of direct and open dialog with the Israeli government (despite the free and open dialog the US treasury has with the Israeli treasury).

In one case David Green hung up on a caller when Jayyous was mentioned. The US embassy in Jerusalem claims they have been reporting to Washington on the situation but only do what they are instructed to by Washington. Senator Chafee, who is head of the Foreign Relations Sub-committee on the Middle East, has recently returned from Jerusalem. He described the situation as "heartbreaking" to one caller, and his office is writing to the state department to express concerns. Senator Reed has shown no indication of responding to constituents. Rep. Kennedy and Rep. Langevin have on their record the recent vote denouncing the International Court of Justice for daring to rule that the Israeli wall through Palestinian lands is illegal.

Efforts in Europe

Netherlands Palestine Committee: Emergency Call To Save The Land Of JAYYOUS http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=67921


Links to articles on the current situation in Jayyous

Israelis hasten land grab in shadow of wall: Bulldozers go in as expansion of settlements continues The Guardian.Chris McGreal,Dec 14, 2004


Israel's wall hems in livelihoods -- and dreams Sharif Omar (Abu Azzam) from Jayyous, Dec. 16, 2004


Photo story:



Two Years in Jayyus. Photos and Info Credit: PENGON/Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign. December 15th, 2004.


Do the Wall’s Roots Start to Reveal Themselves? Personal Testimony, Abdul-Latif Khaled from Jayyous,, December 5th, 2004


Olive Trees uprooted in Jayyous apparently to make Room for another Settlement EAPPI, Christoph Gocke living in Jayyous,


More Land Grabs possible in Jayyous EAPPI, Iaian Connon, 10 Dec. 2004


Update From Jayyous: Israeli Settlement Seizes Palestinian Farmland

World War 3 Report David Bloom


The Slow Creep of Israel's Annexation Zmag, John Petrovato, Dec 9, 2004


Israeli settlers uproot olive trees in Palestinian village John petrovato 11 Dec 2004


Settlers uproot Palestinian olive grove Haaretz, Arnon Regular, 10 December 2004


Haaretz A one-time Hanukkah miracleThe story of a very large cruse of oil, an Orthodox kibbutz and a Palestinian village, Akiva Eldar December 10, 2004


Next: O Little Town - Christmas in Bethlehem

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