Occupying the Occupation at ‘IZBAT at TABIB
Working with the IWPS (International Women’s Peace Service) we visit many villages in the South Nablus area. All are affected by the occupation in direct and indirect ways.
Mohammed, a peace activist, drove us to the village of ‘Izbat at Tabib. He and Mousa, who lives here, gave us a profile of the village and its current problems with the Israeli government. The village is in Area C (Israeli controlled military zone), as is 60% of the West Bank. Villagers are always denied permission for new build, forcing the Palestinians into cramped living conditions and denying them the opportunity to improve facilities.
The village was founded in 1922 and the present population is 250 people, comprising two extended families living in 45 households. There are also about 10 Bedouin families settled there.The Israeli settlement of Alfe Menashe can been seen from ‘Izbat and from the adjacent Palestinian village of Isla. Within the Israeli settlement there is private Palestinian land, planted with olives belonging to these villages, and to the villagers of nearby Azzoun. Last year IWPS supported Mousa and his family in his olive harvest, as his trees are situated on land which forks between the old road and and a settler road. He has lost 50 dunams of family land and 5 dunams of personally owned land to the Israeli settlement. Mohammed, like other villagers, has private land within Alfe Menashe and he will have to acquire 3 military permits to enable him to see his trees. He will also have to hire a Jewish security guard and a jeep to gain entry.
‘Izbat built a school and clinic two years ago and on the 3rd September a demolition order was served on the building by Israeli military commanders. A house at the entry to the village has already been demolished, on the 1st May. Villagers have been given one month to get appeal documents together to bring to court. They have erected a protest tent in front of the school. Every day the army enters the village on patrol, but villagers do not have any current conflict with settlers.
The second problem is a proposed road bypass construction between An Nabi Elyas and a road gate near Azzoun. The purpose of this is to join the settler road so that it will avoid going through An Nabi Elyas. This Israeli-only road will take land from the adjacent villages. Also planned are two barrier gates on a road between Azzoun and Kafr Thulth. This will take more land from both towns and also isolate them from each other.
The village has set up a large tent in front of the school and villagers gather there for meetings and to watch for any IOF activity.
Mousa, whose house was built by his grandfather, fears that the Israelis want the Palestinians to evacuate ‘Izbat at Tabib. As Mohammed says ‘they want to make life so hard for us that we will want to leave – they are trying to boil us.’