Assault on property owned by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Septemebr 17th, 1999

For Publication.

Please write to your Senators, representatives, to your  respective consulates and to the Religious and NGO organizations and others and please stand against OCCUPATION and with the truth.

In Taysir Palestinian Muslim are the  majority. The Latin Patriarchate have always  defended the right of the Palestinians, no difference between Palestinian Moslems and Christians, they are all on the same baot fighting for their Human Rights against  the Israeli OCCUPATION.

Please, help us to defend our rights and the rights of our beloved Palestinian People.


Subj:  Assault on property owned by the Latin Patriarchate o
Date: 9/17/99 2:37:35 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Jerusalem 14 September 1999
Ref: LE 8/883/99

H.E. Ehud Barak
Prime Minister and Minister of Defense
State of Israel

Assault on property owned by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (The Catholic Church) in the village of Tayasir

Your Excellency,

 The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem owns an estimated 20,000 dunums of land in Tayasir.  Presently, the Israeli Army occupies the area; farmers are banned from entry; and the property has been sealed off and declared a military zone.

 We seek your intervention so that we can regain our land and use it for our various purposes.  We plead with you to invalidate, as soon as possible, the military order that authorized the sealing off of this property belonging to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

 Thank you in advance for your cooperation.  Please accept the assurance of our highest esteem.

Sincerely yours,

+ Michel Sabbah
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

CC: Apostolic Nuncio, Ministers, and Consulates


Please find enclosed a report about the violations in TAYASIR

1. The Latin Patriarchate owns an estimated twenty thousand (20,000) dunums of land, equivalent to two million square meters, in the area of Tayasir, which is located some 3 km from the Jordan Valley, and 2 km NE of the village of Tubas.  The property includes blocks 1 to 12.  A housing complex was constructed on blocks 10 and 11. The Patriarchate holds Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli land registration certificates.

2. On 17 January 1985, the Latin Patriarchate was served Military Order H/1/85 which stated that 200 dunums (20,000 square meters) of its land had been confiscated for military purposes.  Since 1985, the Army took over another one thousand (1,000) dunums to build four (4) permanent military installations.  It also took over various other parts of the property, either temporarily or permanently, for military training that involved the use of live ammunition, heavy military machinery, and other heavy training equipment.  (Attached [Annex A] is an aerial photo of the blocks and of the military installations, proving the existence of the military camps.)

3. The village of Tayasir has a population of 1,800 people who depend on agriculture of their livelihood.  For that reason, the property belonging to the Latin Patriarchate is used for agricultural purposes.  The village has a school.  However, there is a military installation located only 150 meters away from this school in block 8, parcel 9.  The indifference of the military trainees has inflicted various injuries and deaths to more than 30 residents throughout the years.  We do not understand this assault on the right to life.  (Attached [Annex B] is a list of the names of the dead and injured people.)

4. Pursuant to Military Order # 1978, dated 18 March 1999, and issued by the Central Command of the West Bank, an affiliate of the Defense Ministry, the Patriarchate was asked to acknowledge receipt of twenty-four thousand shekels (NIS 24,000) as compensation for the use of the land made by the Army and for its being sealed off as a military zone pursuant to Military Order H/1/85 issued on 17 January 1985, viz., for its use of the 200 dunums (20,000 square meters) of land which had originally been confiscated, but not for all the additional dunums which have been confiscated over the years.

5. In light of the above, several issues are clear:

A. The Central Command of the Israeli Army tried to trick the Patriarchate into approving its illegal action, when, in fact, it had forcefully and coercively confiscated the property, against the will of the Patriarchate.

B. The area of property confiscated by the Israeli Army amounts to four thousand (4,000) dunums, not two hundred (200), as referred to in the Military Order, for it includes all the military camps and installations in the area.  The misrepresentation was used to carry out an illegal act and to conceal the large number of square meters of land that, in fact, had been confiscated.

C. The Israeli Army tried to tempt the Patriarchate with an offer of NIS 24,000.  However, the issue is not money, but the illegal reality the Israeli Army is trying to create on the ground.  Furthermore, the Army has inflicted great damage on the residents of the village who earn their livelihood by tilling the land owned by the Patriarchate.  Also, since there is only one school in the village, the life of the students has been seriously disrupted.  (Attached [Annex C] is an aerial photo of the site, as well as a photo of the training of soldiers that takes place there.)

D. In addition, on 26 August 1999, the Patriarchate was shocked to receive written notification of Sealing Order # 2 / 91, which was given to its staff members who were working there in block 4, parcel 2 (31,326 square meters), and in block 2, parcel 7 (44,251 square meters).  Both plots of land are, in fact, far from the military training areas.  This Sealing Order is proof that four thousand (4,000) dunums had been previously confiscated, not simply two hundred (200).  Both the content and tone of the notification were unacceptable, for it claimed that block 4, parcel 4, is a closed military zone.

On 26 August 1999, the Israeli Army banned work on the above-mentioned land owned by the Patriarchate, and it seized a tractor that was later transferred to Jericho.

 In the last few years, the Israeli Army obliged the residents, who lived on the property of the Patriarchate, to leave the land they had been cultivating.  Today, the land is barren, due to neglect.

 Deliberate damage has been inflicted on the land through ground leveling, tree uprooting, and crop destruction.

6. The residents of the village of Tayasir suffer from a lack of drinkable water.  In contrast, the settlers are channeling spring water from the Patriarchate's property to the nearby settlements in 15-inch pipelines.

Fr. Majdi al-Siryani, LL.D.
General Manager