Farmer Starting His Olive Harvest Season With an Order For Demolition From the Occupation Army
With the olive harvest in full swing, most Palestinian farmers are busy worrying about picking every last olive; but a Palestinian farmer living in Bruqin has a completely different worry of his own.
At 10:40am on October 6th 2014, the Israeli military delivered an order for demolition of land owned by Ziad Barakat, a shepherd/farmer living in the village of Bruqin.
The order claimed that Barakat illegally altered the land without permission and that the 120 olive trees that were planted 12 years prior and the agricultural building that was built 4 years prior is located on land owned by the state of Israel. It also mentions that if he does not return the land to its original state within 45 days from the issuing of the order the Israeli military will come to uproot the trees and demolish the agricultural building themselves. Afterwards, Barakat will be forced to pay for the demolition that the army carried out on his property.
Barakat’s land is located in area C, which is land controlled by the Israeli state per the Oslo accords of 1992. It is very common for Palestinians to be denied the right to work on or alter land that is within area C, even if he/she can provide documents proving ownership.
A law stemming from Ottoman times makes it so that if after 3 years land has not been altered that land then becomes property of the state of Israel. This almost always results with the stolen land being given to illegal Israeli settlements for expansion.
Barakat will now have to take his verification of his ownership to court, where the judge is almost always an illegal settler, if he wants to try to keep his trees and agricultural house. Even though, Palestinians often do not get their orders of demolitions dismissed, he has no intention of demolishing anything that he built or planted on his own land; he marks the fourth villager in Bruqin with an order of demolition from Israel.