We’ve set up this blog to try and highlight what is happening to the Abu Haikal family in Hebron, Palestine. Their land is currently (as in, right now!) being stolen and colonised by Israel. The Abu Haikal family have lived on this land since the 1940’s. This blog is going to document the crimes being committed by the Israeli State.
On 5 January 2014 Jewish colonists invaded the Abu Haikal almond orchard in front of their house with bulldozers and caravans. They were protected by Israeli soldiers, police and border police. For many years Jewish colonists from Ramat Yashai colony have carried out an aggressive campaign of trespass, criminal damage, theft, intimidation and harassment in order to take this piece of land and drive the Abu Haikals from their home.
They have cut down half the almond trees on this piece of land and damaged the rest by starting fires. Now they have uprooted all the trees and begun an archaeological dig prior to commencing building. Unlike Palestinians who can almost never get building permission they will no doubt be fast tracked to get planning permission.
The Abu Haikal family bought the land on which their houses stand in 1930. In 1949 they rented two smaller adjoining plots which are owned by the Islamic Waqf (a charitable foundation started by Tamim al Dari, a Companion of the Prophet Mohammed). They planted almond and cherry trees on the land which are now over 50 years old. In 1967 Israel captured the West Bank and took over the Office of Absentee Landlords which now administers the rented land. In 2001 the Israelis refused to accept rent from the Abu Haikal family and on 1 January 2014 they offered the land to Jewish colonists.
Under international law it is illegal for Israel to move populations into occupied territory. The Israeli government has no legal right to terminate the Abu Haikal’s rental agreement, to destroy their trees or to offer the land to Jewish colonists. They have effectively captured another part of Palestine and incorporated it into Israel. The colony now being built will be a Jewish-only ghetto.
It is already a nightmare for Palestinians living in Tel Rumeida where 4 Jewish colonies have been built in between the Palestinian houses in the centre of Hebron near the tomb of Abraham. The area is closed off and controlled by military check points. Palestinians are not allowed to drive in all the area and cannot even walk on certain roads next to the colonies. Now that a new colony is being built this will increase the pressure on the neighbouring Palestinians. The Abu Aisha house is almost completely surrounded by Jewish colonies and an Israeli army barracks built on Abu Haikal land. The Abu Haikals are now surrounded on 3 sides.
The long term plan of the colonists is to drive all Palestinians off the hill top and expand their colonies to cover the whole area. They have already driven out the al Bakri family and illegally occupied their house. Once they have established themselves on the almond orchard they will no doubt move onto the cherry orchard next. They will claim that the Abu Haikal house is now too close to their colony and poses a “security threat” so they can apply to have the family evicted or the house demolished. All the other families in this neighbourhood have now suddenly become next door neighbours with Jewish colonists and can expect increased military security and restrictions on their movements to and from their homes.