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Published on Mar 22, 2011
Al-Nu'man is a small village consisting of one street and approximately 25 houses situated southeast of Jerusalem and northeast of Bethlehem, a few hundred metres north of Beit Sahour. In 1967, Israel illegally de facto annexed East Jerusalem and surrounding areas, including the land of al-Nu'man village. However, the inhabitants of the village were recorded as West Bank residents and given West Bank IDs rather than the Jerusalem IDs received by most Palestinians in illegally annexed areas. As West Bank ID holders, these residents are considered by Israel to be illegally residing in Jerusalem simply by being in their homes. A small minority of the village residents possess Jerusalem IDs, being former residents (and their offspring) of nearby Jerusalem villages who did not register the change in their place of residence when they moved to al-Nu'man. The Jerusalem ID holders remaining in the village amount to less than 10% of al-Nu'man's present population of approximately 220.
In addition to the difficulties caused by holding ID cards that, under Israeli law, do not permit them to reside in their own village, al-Nu'man villagers are detrimentally affected by Israeli settlement construction and expansion in the area. Har Homa settlement, begun in 1997 and built on the Abu-Ghneim mountain, lies nearby, and an extension is planned next to al-Nu'man, on a portion of the village's lands. Substantial areas of land surrounding the village were also appropriated by Israeli confiscation orders for the establishment of a military area,2 as well as a further 30 dunums for the building of Mazmouriyya trade terminal,3 currently in progress. In addition, the route of the Jerusalem Ring Road, on which work has already commenced, will cut through the village. The village is also bounded by the Annexation Wall, which in this area takes the form of a fence, constructed inside the West Bank. As a result of these Israeli development plans in the area, to which the presence of the village is an obstacle, al-Nu'man is the target of a systematic campaign aiming to remove its inhabitants and subsequently appropriate its land.
The problems for al-Nu'man residents escalated in 2003 when construction of the Wall began near the village, and heightened even further in May 2006 when a permanent checkpoint in the Wall became the only entrance to, and exit from, the village. Al- Nu'man is now bordered on three sides by the Wall, isolating it from the rest of the West Bank, which is situated on the opposite side of the Wall, east of the village. Only al-Nu'man residents with West Bank IDs are permitted through the checkpoint. On the western side of the village, the former road to Jerusalem has been partially destroyed by Israeli authorities and is blocked by a metal gate at the entrance to the village.