Ni’lin is an agricultural village with 5,000 inhabitants located to the West of the Ramallah district.
Until 1948, Ni’lin villagers owned 58,000 dunums (580 hectares) of land, which stretched as far as Ramle and Lod, cities that now lie inside Israel. After the Nakba of 1948, 40,000 dunums of this land was annexed to the newly created Israeli state.
After the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, the illegal settlements of Kiryat Sefer, Mattityahu and Maccabim were built on village lands. In addition, new roads were created for the ever-expanding settlements of Nili and Na’ale. Together, these settlements and their associated infrastructure ate up another 8,000 dunums of Ni’lin’s land.
Moreover, an Israeli military base and scores of military checkpoints were also set up in the area.
These confiscations left Ni’lin with just 10,000 of its original 58,000 dunums of land. Yet construction of the Wall (started in May 2008) on the western side of the village, and a military base on the southern side will strip Ni’lin of a further 2,500 dunums of land.
In addition to this, the closure of the main entrance to the village to replace it with a tunnel running under the segregated settler-only road will involve the confiscation of a further 200 dunums. This will effectively turn Ni’lin into a prison, where the Israeli military will have the power to open and close the tunnel to the village indiscriminately and at whim.
Finally, this will leave the village with just 7,300 dunums, including the land on which the houses are built.
Since July 2008, Ni’lin is mourning its dead. Yousef Ahmad Younis Amera (17) and Ahmed Husam Yusef Mousa (10) were assassinated by the armed forces of occupation. Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22), was shot in the back and killed on December 28th while taking part in a demonstration in solidarity with Gaza. Mohammed Kasim Khawaje (20), who was shot in the head during that same demonstration, died on December 31st. On Friday, 5 June 2009, Yousef Akil Srour (36) was shot in the chest with 0.22 caliber live ammunition and pronounced dead upon arrival at a Ramallah hospital.