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Where Will the Wall Be Built in Budrus Budrus

Where Will the Wall Be Built in Budrus Budrus,

by S'ra,

Yesterday the people of Budrus, a rural village of 1200 people in the western part of the Ramallah district, discovered a notice in their olive grove tacked to an olive tree from the Israeli soldiers. The note announced that the military would arrive today at 10 am to tell farmers which lands would be confiscated in Budrus in order to build the wall. This morning farmers and village elders went to meet the soldiers, who arrived in two jeeps with the District Coordination Office (DCO) officials. The Israeli DCO officials provided them with a map and informed them that they would confiscate 38 dunums (four dunums equal one acre). This land contains approximately 100 of the community's olive trees. The Israeli government also stated the wall will follow the Green Line in Budrus (the 1967 border between Israel and the West Bank).

Discrepancies between the Israeli government and the people of Budrus exist over where the Green Line actually lies. Iyad Morrar, a community leader in Budrus and the leader of the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall in Western Ramallah, stated, "We still do not know what will happen with our lands. The Israeli government can decide where they want to draw the Green Line and we will have no input in this decision. We know where our land and our trees are but they will steal this from us."

The original plan presented by the Israeli government was scheduled to take 1000 dunums and destroy approximately 3000 olive trees. "Thirty-eight dunums is a step in the right direction but it is not enough," said Morrar. He believes since Budrus and eight other villages in the area will be completely encircled by the wall this announcement does not constitute a victory. At the February 23 demonstration in Budrus against the wall, there were conflicting reports about whether the wall would enclose the nine villages or not. It appears now that the villages will be completely surrounded by the wall with only one or two entrances, essentially turning the area into a prison.

Tayseer from Qira village between Salfit and Qalqilia commented, "In Jayyous and Mas'ha, the military came several times and provided different maps each time. First, they would move the line of the wall forward and then back, then forward again. We cannot trust anything that the Israeli soldiers tell us."

For months, the people of Budrus have been waiting to find out exactly where the wall will be constructed and they still are not certain even after viewing the maps because the Israeli government could change their plans again as they have already done here and in other areas. In addition, the interpretation of the demarcation of the Green Line is in the hands of the Israeli government. If the nine villages are surrounded, access to jobs, education and healthcare will be impeded. There are no universities, no major medical facilities and few employment opportunities in these small villages. Many people in the area have relatives that live in other areas in the West Bank. With the wall and the continued occupation, visiting family members will become increasingly difficult.

One farmer from Budrus, who already had 50 of his olive trees demolished by Israeli bulldozers, was informed today that he will not be able to replant olive trees in that area. The land where his trees stood now has the cement foundation for the wall that will be built in Budrus. He received no compensation from the Israeli government for the loss of his land or trees.

Budrus has demonstrated at the construction site of the wall since the first bulldozers arrived in November 2003. "We will continue our struggle and we will continue to demonstrate in Budrus and also in other villages in the area to help them resist the wall," Morrar affirmed.

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