Friends of Earth International strongly condemns the brutal murder of La Vía Campesina comrade and 85-year-old Palestinian farmer Suleiman Hammad. On February 8th, 2017 Suleiman was run over by an Israeli settler, while walking to work on his own land near Al-Khader Village, south of Bethlehem.
Suleiman Hammad actively resisted the occupation by refusing to give up his land, enduring Israeli settlers’ attempts to restrict him from even accessing that land. Despite these violations, Suleiman stood his ground and managed to protect his property. Suleiman was a devoted citizen, dedicated to the land.
Suleiman Hammad lived in AL Khader village, a Palestinian town located approximately 4 km from Bethlehem Governorate. Al Khader is mainly dependent on the agriculture sector, which employs 35% of the town’s workforce. The Israeli authorities confiscated large areas of Al Khader land for the construction of several Israeli settlements and bypass roads to connect these settlements. Area C, which falls under full Israeli control, constitutes 85.5% of the total village area.
The Israeli racist discrimination plan aims to create a negative and destructive impact on Al Khader town. The apartheid wall which extends 4.35km into Al Khader lands isolates 5620 dunums (562 hectares) of the town’s territory. Most of this land is agricultural, forested or open and constitutes a source of income for many local Palestinian families.
We send our condolences and solidarity to his family and La Vía Campesina. We urge all people, social movements, and governments to call on international institutions to help stop the systematic violation of the Right to Life of Palestinian farmers and bring an end to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.
Since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, the Israeli’s have confiscated large areas of land for Israeli settlement, controlled water resources and violated the basic human rights of Palestinians for 50 years. Friends of the Earth International calls for the protection of environmental defenders, who fight to protect their land and resist these violations in Palestine.