The Nabi Elias bypass road, which will serve Israeli settlers, requires the confiscation of 25 acres of Palestinian land.
Photos and text by Keren Manor / Activestills.org
Civil Administration contractors accompanied by Israeli soldiers uprooted around 250 Palestinian-owned olive trees Sunday near the West Bank city of Qalqilya, as part of a larger plan to build a settler bypass road in the area.
The Nabi Elias bypass road will include the expropriation of 25 acres of Palestinian land — including a total 700 olive trees — belonging to the Palestinian villages of Izbat Tabib, Azzun, and Nabi Elias, just east of Ramallah.
On Saturday the army prevented dozens of Israeli activists from joining a nonviolent Palestinian demonstration against the land confiscations. By Sunday only a small group of Palestinians came out to protest the uprooting.
The decision to build the road, which will serve settlers only, 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.”
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.