The Farmers

In the spring of 2010, during one of Iraq Burin’s weekly Saturday demonstrations, Israelis from the nearby Bracha settlement set fire to Abu Moammar Ezzit Qadous wheat fields while a group of village children watched from a hill above. Rocky patches of black are all that remain, but Abu Moammar is still determined to plant his wheat crop again next year.

A retired English teacher, Abu Moammar, 57, farms on the hills surrounding his home village of Iraq Burin because it is the long-time tradition of his family. He feels a strong attachment to the 400 dunums of land he owns, though Israel has declared 150 dunums of it a military zone, making the land off limits to Abu Moammar. The area is now used by settlers living in Baracha to grow grapes.

This continuous harassment from settlers — once Israeli settlers shot and killed Abu Moammar’s donkey and horse while he was out grazing livestock — have only added to this father of eight’s conviction to continue farming in Iraq Burin.

Born in 1937 in the small village of Iraq Burin in Palestine, Abu Nasser Mohamed Qadous has farmed his land for decades, as did his forefathers.

His family has relied on the cultivation of crops such as figs, olives, grapes and wheat. Abu Nasser’s land has been threatened by the development of Israeli settlements over the past few decades. Settlers have damaged his water wells, uprooted his fruit trees, and furthermore, prevented Abu Nasser from accessing 56 of his 200 dunums of land that is now labeled an Israeli military zone.

Both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have not come to the defense of Abu Nasser, even though he has written deeds to the land that go back generations.

Due to the damage done to his land, Abu Nasser’s children are unable to rely on farming for their future, and are forced to look for employment elsewhere.

As every day passes, the confiscation of more land is a reality of life for Abu Nasser and the farmers of Iraq Burin. Yet, Abu Nasser’s only defense is to continue to work on his land despite the daily threats with which he lives.

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