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Palestinians celebrate reclaim of Houmesh settlement
Friday October 4, 2013 11:24 AM, IANS

Palestinian farmers from the northern West Bank city of Nablus were jubilant Thursday after reclaiming a piece of land that had been confiscated by Israel for building settlements 35 years ago.

According to an Israeli judiciary decision early this week, the Palestinian farmers reclaimed the land they lost to an Israeli settlement in the 1970s, Xinhua reported.

Abdel Salam Sallah, one of the farmers, walked in his farm for the first time in 35 years. "This day is a special day for me and my family and we will remember it because we succeeded in getting back to the land of my father and grandfather," he said.

In 1978, Israel confiscated the land to build up the settlement of Houmesh, one of the four settlements they evacuated from in 2005 as part of an Israeli unilateral plan.

However, the Palestinian farmers were not allowed to approach their lands after the Israeli evacuation, as the Israeli army announced the land was a closed military area.

"For eight years, we were not able to reach our farm because the Israeli army prevented us from doing so," said Sallah.

"Now our happiness is completed and the first thing I will do the following day is to cultivate the land with greens and legumes."

Ghassan Daghlas, an official in-charge of the settlement file in northern West Bank, said that handing over the confiscated land to its owners according to the Israeli high court of justice "is practically and legally ending the Israeli occupation of the land".

"Giving the land back to its owners will prevent other settlers to think about confiscating it again," Daghlas said.


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