Sunday, July 05, 2020

Demolition orders issued for al Fuhaidat village in Anata enclave

By Jessica Purkiss - February 12, 2013
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [demolition] [Eviction] [Anata] [Fuhaidat]

The once quiet agricultural village of Fuheidat in the West Bank town of Anata is hemmed in on three sides by the Israeli military base West Anatot.

On January 29th the villagers received demolition orders for fourteen houses. A week later two more homeowners were called to Bet El military court where they received afurther two demolition orders fortheir houses. On February 7th it was announced that the case will be heard by the Israeli High Court on February 28th

The houses slated for demolition are home to 71 people. Out of this number, 36 children under the age of 18 will lose their homes.

“I was nine when I first arrived in this village, I am now sixty. Where would I live?” said an elderly woman of Fuhediat. “There is nowhere else but here. Once the father of a boy from another village wanted me to marry him, I beat him in a strength competition just so I didn’t have to leave my village and now years later they tell me I must go.” 

Since the military base was built in 1979 it has infringed on every aspect of their daily lives. As the residents of Fuheidat work on their land they are overlooked by security cameras and face regular interference from the soldiers. With the newly confiscated land the base is set to expand.

“Before this period of time we led quiet lives but not now the military base is here. The soldiers are in training and you can hear the shots from their guns, the children are afraid,” the elderly woman said.

Before the base was built Wael Salameh’s family owned 1,672 dunums of land, all of which was confiscated from them by the Israeli authorities.

“We used to grow our vegetables here, we had potatoes, carrots.  We are agricultural people and I remember that this land was very fertile. So we grew everything we could, but not anymore,” Salameh said.

According to residents, out of the original 35,000 dunums of Anata's land only 940 are left. Another 200-300 dunums of land lie in Area C which the Israeli authorities curtial building upon

The Complex Case of Anata

The story in Fuheidat is symptomatic of issues faced by the whole area of Anata. The town of Anata is a complex case, as its land lies in both Area B which is under Palestinian civil control but under Israeli security control, and Area C which is under complete Israeli control. Half of Anata also lies within the Jerusalem municipality.  

According to residents, out of the original 35,000 dunums of Anata’s land only around 940 are left. Another 200-300 dunums of land lie in Area C which the Israeli authorities curtail building upon. Residents have to request permits to build in Area C which are almost always rejected.

On land expropriated from Anata Israel has built four illegal settlements; Kfar Adumin, Almon, Allon and Nofei Prat, alongside the military base of Anatot. They have a combined population of 2,500 settlers. The settlements have been strategically established over the Eastern Aquifer Basin. The residents of Anata have to purchase their water from an Israeli company. 

The beginning of construction of the Apartheid Wall on Anata’s land in 2004 and the checkpoint put in place in 2000 has hampered the impoverished area’s economic development. Due to Anata’s position many of the residents have Jerusalem ID’s, whilst many also hold Palestinian ID’s. At the same time 45% of Anata’s laborers rely on work in Israel. Anata’s boundaries are penetrated by various Israeli settlement bypass roads, all of which work to infringe the residents’ freedom of movement. 

The town is also home to Shufat refugee camp, which houses around 20,000-30,000 people. The camp technically lies in Israeli defined Jerusalem municipal boundaries, despite this the residents barely receiving any support from the Municipality.

“Every week they give us fresh bags for our rubbish, that is all they give us,” said one Shufat resident. 

It seems that Anata has become a semi-enclave, trapped in by Israeli settlements, checkpoints, military bases and bypass roads, with its segregation physically represented by the Apartheid Wall, whilst demolition orders, refusal of permits for building, and infringement of economic opportunities are working  strategically to ensure that the diminishment of the Palestinian population within the Anata enclave. 

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