The local administration in Kirkuk has decided to impose a moratorium on agricultural lands in Palkana village, disputed by Kurds and Arabs, until a court issues a final decision.
The decision, which will take effect following this year’s harvest season, was declared in a meeting on Wednesday May 22, chaired by acting governor Rakan Saeed al-Jiburi and attended by head of the provincial council’s agriculture committee, Dubz district commissioner and representatives of Palkana farmers.
“For the sake of stability and social peace, the Kirkuk administration has laid out feasible solutions that are approved by both Arab and Kurdish farmers”, a statement issued by the acting governor’s office said.
“It has also been decided to allow farmers to harvest their crops before imposing the moratorium”, the statement added.
The Kirkuk administrations emphasized that all sides should be committed to any decisions that the court reaches in regard to the fate of the disputed agricultural lands.
Tensions broke out on May 14 between Kurds and Arabs in Palkana village over agricultural land ownership claims after more than 100 people from the Arab Shammar tribe stormed the village and demanded its residents to leave the village and evacuate their homes.
Palkana, northwest of Kirkuk, is home to 25 families and covers an area of 60,000 acres of fertile agricultural land in addition to oil reserves.
The village, along with others in the Sargaran sub-district was subjected to the former Ba’ath regime’s Arabization campaigns in 1975, under which Kurds were forced to leave their homes and were replaced by Arab settlers from mid and southern Iraq.