Land Grab ….. A Story of a Family

Land Grab ….. A Story of a Family

Bassel Mansour, 33 years old, is from the village of Bil’in in the West Bank.  Like many in the village, Bassel’s family has lost their land and their olive trees to an encroaching Israeli settlement. The Israelis have confiscated 2,300 Dunms of Bil’in’s 4,300 Dunms in order to build the wall and the settlement, uprooting thousands of olive trees on the way – many of which were over 500 years old.


Losing their land has been devastating for Bassel’s family of 15 brothers and sisters. As a family they owned more than 110 Dunms of land, but have been left with only 6 Dunms as a consequence of the wall, and the settlement, and are finding it increasingly difficult to support their large family.


“Before the wall, the quantity of oil we produced was enough for us to eat and we would sell what was left over. But now we don’t have nearly enough oil for the family and sometimes we have to buy it. Many times we have tried to replant the land with olive trees, but the Israelis have uprooted the saplings, and the livestock of the settlers also damage the olive saplings. I am married with children, and we are living in one room with a big family. This is because we no longer have any land to build houses and we will have to buy land in order to build a new house. Because they confiscated most of our land, it makes land in the village very expensive, and because of the economic situation, young people do not have enough money to buy land, and have to stay with their families in overcrowded houses. To make matters worse, the price of olive oil has become very expensive as the demand has gone up due to loss of olive trees.”