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PHOTOS: How the state builds a road for West Bank settlers

Israeli authorities continue to uproot Palestinian-owned olive trees in order to build a road for nearby settlers.

Photos by Keren Manor / Activestills, text by Yael Marom

Israeli authorities uproot olive trees in order to pave a settler bypass road, Izbat Tabib, West Bank, January 16, 2017. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Israeli authorities uproot olive trees in order to pave a settler bypass road, Izbat Tabib, West Bank, January 16, 2017. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Israeli authorities uprooted dozens of olive trees in order to build a settler road near the West Bank city of Qalqilya on Monday morning.

The Israeli army declared the area a closed military zone after the landowners, along with a number of Israeli activists, arrived in the area to protest and try to nonviolently stop the uprooting. Three of the demonstrators were arrested.

Palestinians watch as Israeli bulldozers uproot their olive trees in order to pave a settler-only road, Izbat Tabib, West Bank, January 16, 2017. (Keren/Manor/

Palestinians watch as Israeli bulldozers uproot their olive trees in order to pave a settler-only road, Izbat Tabib, West Bank, January 16, 2017. (Keren/Manor/

Israeli bulldozers accompanied by workers and private security personnel arrived at the village of Izbat Tabib in the early hours of the morning in order to uproot the trees, which belong to Palestinians in the area, and to pave the “Nabi Elias Bypass Road.” Approximately 700 olive trees are slated to be uprooted; last week authorities removed a total of 250 trees.

Shortly after the uprooting, the Israeli army was called to the area in order to prevent the activists from demonstrating. After declaring a closed military zone, the Israeli activists were removed from the area, while the Palestinian landowners were allowed to remain. The head of Izbat Tabib’s local council and another activist declared that they would refuse to leave and sat on an olive tree. The two were detained and later released. An Israeli activist was arrested was likely transferred to an Israeli police station in the settlement of Ariel.

Israeli soldiers arrive in Izbat Tabib with a closed military zone order, January 16, 2017. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers arrive in Izbat Tabib with a closed military zone order, January 16, 2017. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

On Sunday Civil Administration contractors came to survey the land to ask the locals where they would like their trees to be moved to. The residents responded that there was nowhere to move them to. On Monday, the majority of the uprooted trees were left in a giant pile.

The decision to build the settler road was made as part of a compromise with the Yesha Council, the umbrella organization that governs Jewish settlements in the West Bank. According to the text on the expropriation orders, paving the road is intended to “improve transportation between Nablus and Qalqilya.”

Israeli Border Police stand about as a Palestinian landowner and an Israeli activist sit on an olive tree, refusing to leave as bulldozers uproot dozens of olive trees to build a settler-only bypass road, Izbat Tabib, West Bank, January 16, 2017 (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Israeli Border Police stand about as a Palestinian landowner and an Israeli activist sit on an olive tree, refusing to leave as bulldozers uproot dozens of olive trees to build a settler bypass road, Izbat Tabib, West Bank, January 16, 2017 (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

The Palestinian landowners previously unsuccessfully petitioned the High Court against the plan. According to the head of Nabi Elias’ village council Raed Khalif, those who will be able to prove ownership over the land will receive meager compensation for the property they lost — which makes up an essential part of their livelihood.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Bruce Gould

      I’m not a fan of apartheid but I think if Israel at least had the moral fiber to institute a kind of apartheid with human rights – a separate but truly equal space for the Palestinians – we might be in a different situation today. Instead, it’s the kind of apartheid than embraces home demolitions, seizure of land that is clearly privately owned, separate and unequal legal systems, arrests without trial, and on and on and on.

      Reply to Comment
    2. been there

      It’s not apartheid. It is part of the ongoing project of destroying a whole people..make it impossible for them to be self-supporting..with the hope of destroying their very presence. Israel is a very cruel country.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Baladi Akka 1948

      When I look at these National-Zionist soldiers in the photos, I wonder what kind of brain-washing they’ve been through to accept participating in this. How can anyone calling themselves humans accept to do their military service in this army.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Fred

      Qalkilia and Nablus are both Arab occupied towns

      Just like road 60 North.. South links
      Nablus. and. Rammalla

      Reply to Comment