Haje - Garbage dump in place of olive trees
Haje is an ancient village located between Nablus and Qalqilya.
We visited about a week after receiving information from Petahya about the uprooting of olive trees in the village.
A local restaurant owner (we learned the village has four restaurants) help arrange a meeting in the village municipality with N., the owner of the property. It encompasses 74 dunums. It’s a rocky area. He nevertheless planted olive trees. He dug pits and brought a water pipe, but the army cut the pipes.
About six months ago he received an order to evacuate the area, claiming he had trespassed on State lands within the blue line. The army confiscated the backhoe working on his land and he had to pay NIS 4000 to release it.
A foul smell hit us when we arrived at the location. The land beside the road has become a garbage
dump, including refuse from slaughterhouses. The odor was unbearable. The landowner had been forbidden to access it, so it was abandoned.
The land in this area is rocky and hard to cultivate. In August, 2021, N. was issued a stop-work order for the quarry he had established to remove the boulders from the area and to earn money from selling the gravel and stone slabs. The basis for the order was the claim he lacked a permit for the undertaking.
These are the orders he received regarding stopping work in the quarry and trespassing on his own land which is supposedly located within the blue line.
N. said that last week the army showed up in four jeeps and two back-hoes. He was told the area was being confiscated. At the same time they uprooted all the trees. He showed us the pits in which the trees had been planted, and the trees that had been uprooted.
Adjoining N.’s land, on both sides, are groves of mature olive trees belonging to other village residents. That’s why it’s strange the order to displace him was based on the claim his land is within the blue line.
N. is a contractor who does renovations in the village. He has 8 children. They’re studying and working in Tira, thanks to their mother who’s a resident of East Jerusalem and is therefore able to live within the Green Line.
Haje has about 3000 inhabitants and comprises about 12,000 dunums. Most of it is in Area C.
N. lives in the old portion of the village, whose buildings date back 1000 years or more. Beneath them is an even older layer of structures. N’s home is about 900 years old. His home has a view of the Nabi Rabah “maqam’” which is included in the inventory of “maqam”’s. N. said it’s visited by Palestinians who come because of its sacred character.
N. drove with us to another building, known as the “Sheikh’s House, estimated to be about 1200 years old. It had been renovated at its owner’s expense by Rivaq and is used for community events.