Thursday, April 14, 2005
Action Alert From Christian Peacemaker Team-Hebron
HEBRON DISTRICT URGENT ACTION: STOP SETTLEMENT EXPANSION NEAR BEIT UMMAR
Farmers in the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar are slated to lose access
to large portions of their land when a new "security" fence is constructed
around the Israeli settlement of Karme Tzur. Israeli military officials
gave notice to the farmers at a noon meeting on Friday, April 8. Farmers
were given only seven days to appeal the settlement expansion.
Although the confiscation order details only the 45 dunams (12 acres) on the
site where the actual fence will be built, an estimated 444 dunams of prime
agricultural land surrounded by the proposed fence effectively increases the
area of the settlement three-fold. Palestinian farmers will in theory be
able to access their land, only by permit, through three planned gates. The
land confiscation will affect the majority of the population of Beit Ummar,
70% of whom are small farmers. The order also impacts Palestinian farmers
in the nearby village of Halhoul.
Beit Ummar farmers have had difficulty over the past years caring for their
fruit trees and harvesting their produce because of harassment by residents
of Karme Tzur settlement. The construction of the new fence is the latest
blow to their livelihoods.
Members of a Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) delegation visited farmers in
the village on April 12 and toured the affected land. One of the farmers,
Abu Jabr Sleibi, whose fruit orchards will lie within the new fence, showed
delegates where the Israeli army had already demolished part of his orchard.
Another, Ahmed Sabarneh said sadly, "The land is gone."
The proposed settlement expansion fence around Karme Tzur is separate from
the controversial Security Wall that aims to divide the West Bank from
In conversation with CPT member Dianne Roe on April 12, a political officer
of the U.S. Consulate in West Jerusalem confirmed that the U.S. State
Department considers this land confiscation illegal. U.S. President Bush
reiterated his opposition to settlement expansion during his recent visits
with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Settlement expansion is
detrimental to implementation of the peace process known as the "Road Map."
Please fax, e-mail or send postcards to your Ministry of Foreign Affairs or
State Department and/or Prime Minister or President. Copy your Members of
Parliament or Representatives and Senators. Urge them to send a clear
message to the Israeli government that settlement expansion, including the
expansion represented by the Karme Tzur security fence, is counter to the
peace process and must stop. U.S. citizens, please express your affirmation
of the stance President Bush has taken against settlement expansion.
SAMPLE TEXT FOR MESSAGE
Please stop new Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank near Beit
Ummar. On April 12, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams visited farmers
in the village of Beit Ummar who received confiscation orders on their land
April 8. Much of the village's farmland will be taken for settlement
expansion by a planned "security" fence around the Israeli settlement of
Karme Tzur. The new fence will effectively increase the area of the
settlement three-fold and impoverish Palestinian farming families. I urge
you to investigate this settlement expansion and send a clear message to the
Israeli government that settlement expansion, including the expansion
represented by the new "security" fence around Karme Tzur, is counter to the
peace process and must stop.
[Your name and full address]
P.S. For more information on the land confiscation near Beit Ummar, you may
contact Beit Ummar farmers Ahmed and Edna Sabarneh, phone 972-2-252-0658 or
972-54-466-1204 (cell); Abdel Hadi Hantash of the Palestinian Land Defense
Committee, phone 972-599-838-180; or Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron,
phone 972-2-222-8485 or 972-54-691-3985 (cell).
Prime Minister Paul Martin, House of Commons, Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierre Pettigrew, House of Commons, Ottawa ON
You can mail you MP at the House of Commons address, or find their fax
number by looking them up at:
President George W. Bush, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20500
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520
Senator_____________, US Senate, Washington, DC 20510
Representative_________________, US House of Representatives, Washington DC
For fax numbers, go to: http://congress.org/and enter your zip code. You can also e:mail easily from this site.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Downing
Street West, London SW1A 2AL
Find contact information for your MP at