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Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign

Sarta villagers resist Brokhen settlers destruction of their land

Recently, the people of “Sarta” village (located to the southwest of Nablus) had no other choice but to stand up against the settlers of the nearby colony known as “Brokheen”. This occured when the villagers realized that the sounds they could hear from the bulldozers were not coming from inside the colony but were in fact coming from the road leading to their village and which they until now used frequently.

Then came the harrowing realization that these bulldozers were being used to expand this road in order to steal land from the villagers during the olive harvest season.

 

The bulldozing of the land started last Tuesday (9/24/2013) in the southern part of Sarta , in an area located close to Brokheen colony. The people of the village immediately headed over to prevent the bulldozer from continuing its demolitions and forcing the settlers to withdraw. The following day, a local watch committee was set up by the village’s youth in order to monitor the area and ensure that the bulldozers do not return. However they noticed the following day that the settlers started to lay down materials to prepare the street to be paved. The villagers headed back to the area once again to try to protect the land from inevitable confiscation.

 

The people of Sarta succeeded a second time in stopping the settlers from operating in the problematic area, until Thursday at midnight (9/26/2013) when the settlers returned one last time to continue expanding the street. The people of Sarta gathered again, however this time the settlers were joined by more numbers from different colonies, were heavily armed and had the support of the Israeli Occupation Forces who tried to convince the villagers to leave the area; but the people of Sarta stood their ground and insisted on staying put and made it clear that they would not leave until the settlers themselves exited the area and the work stops.

 

The aim behind the construction of the new road near the Jewish Colony of "Brokheen" and expanding it is to connect the settlement with a street called "Trans-Samaria", which connects the "Tel Aviv" to the Jordan Valley. The new Street of "Trans-Samaria” will result in the confiscation of about 1000 dunams of village’s lands – equivalent to 100,000 square meters, an area mostly planted with olive trees which constitutes the main source of income for the farmers there. On the other hand, it is important to note that two months ago the Israeli government announced the expansion of the settlement of "Brokheen" for which it will build 500 new housing units.

 

Sarta is a village with a population of 3,200, located to the southwest of the city of Nablus. It has an estimated area of 10,000 dunams, all located within the area "C", with the exception of 900 dunams located within area "B" according to the Oslo agreement. This means that 9100 dunams are located under the authority of the occupation militarily and administratively. Approximately 200 meters away from Sarta lies an industrial area and settlement called Barkan. And 2 km to the south of the village lies the settlement of "Brokheen".

 

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