Testimony: Israel seizes land and hampers access for farmers near the Kedumim settlement

'Abd a-Latif 'Obeid, farmer

'Abd a-Latif 'Obeid

I have a few plots of land inside the Kedumim settlement, which was built on the land of residents of Kafr Qadum. Since 1984, we've been suffering due to the settlement's expansion and the seizure of land.

 One of my plots is in Bur Abu al-Kharub, southwest of the Kedumim settlement. It is 51 dunams, and has olive orchards on it. In 1984, they took about 40 dunams of this area, and the settlers built greenhouses on it to grow vegetables. On other sections of my land, the settlers throw construction waste and garbage. Before they took my land, the orchards produced enough fruit for 80 cans of olive oil in a good year. On the land that remains in my hands, I can produce only seven or eight cans in a good season.

The settlers harass and frighten us to keep us from going to our land and working it. In 2007, for example, at the end of a day of picking olives, the settlers took five sacks of olives we had picked and scattered them among the rocks, so we couldn't collect them. In 2008, settlers burned refuse they had thrown onto my land, and the fire spread, damaging all the trees. Until the trees recover, that section won't yield any fruit.

'Abd a-Latif 'Obeid. In the background, the greenhouses of the Qedumim settlement that were built on land stolen from him. Yesilan Dallal, B'Tselem, 30 June 2010.
'Abd a-Latif 'Obeid. In the background, the greenhouses of the Qedumim settlement that were built on land stolen from him. Yesilan Dallal, B'Tselem, 30 June 2010.

I have other land, 35 dunams, situated east of Kafr Qadum, near the houses of the settlers in an area called Harayeq S'adeh. About 10 dunams were taken to make a park, alongside the settlement houses to the west.

I have three other areas of land. Two lie alongside the settlements' houses on the northeast section of the village, in the direction of Jabel Muhammad, one of 18 dunams in Harayeq Khalifa, and the other, also 18 dunams, in the area of Beit Bazin, east of the village. The third parcel, 87 dunams, lies in Wadi Qridish, around Route 60, which links the Sarra intersection and the Tulkarm road, about one kilometer from the settlement's houses, and next to the wastewater treatment facility of the North Kedumim settlement.

For 10 years, we haven't been able to get to our land without first coordinating it with the Israeli liaison office. The coordination takes time and is a bother. They permit us access twice a year, with coordination, during the plowing season and during the olive harvest, about three days each time. This is not enough to do the harvest or to plow and weed the land. If I go onto my land without first coordinating it, the settlers tell the army and the soldiers come and expel us from our land, claiming that we didn't coordinate it with the Israeli liaison office.

We've been suffering from this situation since 1984. All the land seizures, the settler attacks, and the need to coordinate entry are aimed at expanding the Kedumim settlement, which already has a large amount of land, and at taking, little by little, the rest of our land. They force us to neglect our land so it will be easier for them to annex it to the settlement.

'Abd a-Latif Muhammad ‘Abdullah 'Obeid, 63, married with nine children, is a farmer and resides in Kafr Qadum, Qalqiliya District. He gave the testimony to 'Abd al-Karim Sa'adi on 21 June 2010 in the village.