The Department of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at the Arab American University Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology held a workshop on land and water settlement in Palestine in cooperation with the Land and Water Settlement Authority and the Ministry of Local Government.
The University President Prof. Dr. Ali Zeidan Abu Zuhri welcomes the President of Land and Water Settlement Authority Minister Judge Mousa Shakarneh, who participated in the workshop. He gave him detailed explanation of the university, its faculties and academic programs in bachelor and master degrees, stressing on the partnership importance between the university GIS department and the Land and Water Settlement Authority.
The workshop was attended by Chairman of the Land and Water Settlement Authority Minister Judge Mousa Shakarneh, Deputy of Jenin Governor Mr. Kamal Abu Al-Rob, VP for Training and Development Dr. Nizam Diab, General Manager of Axis for Surveying Systems Eng. Salama Awawdeh and representative of the Local Government Ministry Mr. Omar Sameh, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology Dr. Mohammed Hamarsheh, Head of Information Systems Department at the University Dr. Jacqueline Abu Daoud, a number of mayors, a group of surveyors and GIS students..
The workshop started with Dr. Diab speech, in which he stressed on the importance of this meeting. Explaining, the university is keen to host specialized activities and workshops in several society fields.
The Deputy of Jenin Governor spoke about the importance of continuous coordination between all responsible bodies in Palestine especially in the field of land and water to preserve our wealth from the Israeli occupation daily seeks to confiscate it. He also invited the Land and Water Settlement Authority and the Ministry of Local Government to work in full power particularly the government to protect them. Calling the land owners to take care of their land, benefit from it greatly and ensure to legally register it so as not to justify the flocks of settlers’ confiscation and establish settlements.
“The Land and Water Settlement Authority is working hard through its staff to register and settle the Palestinian territories in all the country’s governorates, as 65% of the Palestinian territories are still not included by the settlement works”, Minister Shakarneh said. Adding, “It’s a national process that means preserving the land from the occupation and the settlers’ acts and confiscations, and registering the lands guarantees preserving it”.
He pointed, Jenin governorate is one of the least Palestinian governorates in which there is settlement on country level, it’s the governorate with the largest percentage of lands included in the settlement work. Adding, “92% of the territory of Jenin is included by the settlement work, only 7 villages in the north of the province are not included. We will work soon to settle these territories to announce Jenin as the first governorate in Palestine to complete the settling works”.
In the Ministry of Local Government speech, Prof. Samaha confirmed that the land registration is very important and a national necessity that obliges us to work quickly to accomplish it in order to preserve the people’s rights and prevent tampering the rights of unregistered land. He pointed to the Qalqilia governorate difficult situation as one of the examples that it is overflowing of settlement, land theft, and confiscation by settlers and the occupation authorities that we became afraid that the settlement communities are more than the original Palestinian communities, the land, legitimate right and legal owners in the region. Adding, a large part of the territory hasn’t completed the Settlement process wasn’t registered.
Dr. Hamarsheh said in his speech that the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology and the GIS Department with their own equipment, staff and experts, are ready to assist in the process of land settlement and hosting every activity and workshop that promotes students and the local community awareness in this regard.
As for Eng. Awawdeh, he talked about the minister Shakarneh formed a committee to study the survey laws and work guidelines for all surveyors to overcome obstacles and difficulties they face and come up with unified law to regulate their work, which will serve the Ministry of Local Government and Municipalities.
He continued, there is a tendency to scan all the old maps and create electronic copies of them on a computerized system to preserve them. Stressing on the importance of cooperation with the university information technology experts and GIS department, first of its kind in Palestine. He pointed, any student will apply for a PhD degree in surveying will be supported by Axis for Surveying Equipment which will cover half of the tuition fees.
During the workshop, a number of cooperation agreements were signed between the Arab American University and the Land and Water Settlement Authority, and Axis for Surveying Systems. The Arab American University also honored the Minister, Judge Mousa Shakarneh with the University's shield along with Mr. Salameh Awawdeh Director General of Axis for Surveying Systems for the company’s donation of a surveying lab for the AAUJ to enhance the teaching process of GIS students.
At the first session Prof. Nazeh Hantash addressed the land settlement concept and procedures. In the second, Dr. Fayez Al-Masri gave a presentation on the management of land and water settlement projects tenders. On the third one, Eng. Salama Awawdeh reviewed the new techniques in the settlement process, a lecture about the future, and in the fourth and closing session Mr. Mohammed Al-Tarwa discussed settling the land between law and reality, while Mrs. Khitam Ayad conducted the discussion and questions at the end of the workshop.