Beit Duqqu is located on a hilltop 12.9 km northwest of occupied Jerusalem.1 It borders the villages of al-Tira to the north, Beit ‘Anan, al-Qbeibeh and Biddu to the south, Beit Liqia to the west, and al-Jib to the east. Occupied by Israeli authorities since 1967, the village is now subject to land confiscation and nearby colonial expansion of settlements as well as the Annexation Wall.
The villagers trace their roots to the village of Umm Walad in the Horan valley in what is now southern Syria. It is believed Saleh Ahmad ARifa’i immigrated from Horan to the area and that his sons, who were Sufi believers, helped establish the village around 1400 CE.2 Inside the village there are several sites of archaeological interest including the a-Sheikh Omar shrine, the a-Sheikh Ismail shrine, the remains of 'Oqad 'Ein Suleima, and the ruins of Khirbet Jifna. Since 1967, the Israeli occupation has expropriated thousands of dunams of the village’s land. Some of this land has been used to build the Givat Ze’ev colony to the east and the Annexation Wall.
Known for its olive, fig and grape trees, Beit Duqqu is characterized by its fertile agricultural land and many of the villagers rely on farming as their source of income . The village is home to one school, an old mosque, and two water springs. In recent years, the Japanese government has funded several projects to dig water wells in the village to help address water shortages that the growing population often faces during the summer.5 Since 1994, the village has been designated Area B while most of its agricultural lands are Area C. These designations and the Annexation Wall severely hamper proper cultivation of the village’s cash crops.
Since the construction of the Annexation Wall, farmers in Beit Duqqu have been isolated from markets in Jerusalem and thus unable to sell their produce. Yet over the past eight years, the village has been developing a model for economic sustainability which subverts the occupation’s isolation. For the most part this has meant training farmers in food processing and preservation (eg. jams, pickling) which greatly reduces the threat of spoiling.6 The Beit Duqqu Development Association works with surrounding villages to share the model and improve techniques. These models are a form of resistance as they relieve economic pressures which are intended to drive them into dense urban centres and off of their agricultural lands.7
Israeli Occupation Forces Attacks
Perhaps the biggest concern for the tiny village of Beit Duqqu is the constant attacks and raids by the Israeli occupation army which often includes shooting inside the village. The villagers are known for resisting the Israeli occupation and for playing an active role during both the first and second Palestinian Intifadas.
The Israeli government has confiscated 30 dunums of land in Beit Duqqu village to establish the Israeli settlement of Giv’at Ze’ev. Additionally, the Annexation Wall extends 1 km over Beit Duqqu’s lands.7
Annexation and Expansion Wall
The wall extends 1km into Beit Duqqu’s lands and isolates 326 dunums of the eastern part of the village. The isolated lands include open and agricultural areas which are an important source of capital for many families in the village. Access to these agricultural lands is controlled by permits from the occupation authorities and are issued only to people whose names are included in the property ownership instruments which typically limits access to the elderly. Consequently, the seasonal permits do not enable a sufficient labor force or necessary equipment to appropriately and productively cultivate the land. This all results in loss of income and cultural heritage.