Palestinians in the western areas of Bethlehem district have received new confiscation orders amounting to 770 dunums of land, taken for the Apartheid Wall and the expansion of the colonies in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. Villages throughout this area are being ghettoized between two Apartheid Walls – one to be constructed close to the Green Line and the other currently being constructed cutting immediately west to the city of Bethlehem. Encircled by settlements, which will thrive on the stolen land, this part of Palestine is being shaped into a hellish prison.
Fresh confiscation orders and maps reveal 756.5 dunums will be stripped from the villages of Batir, Hussan, Qabu, Wadi Fukin, and Surif. Added to 14.3 dunums taken from Walaja and Beit Jala, lands confiscated in the area of western Bethlehem total some 770 dunums.
The section of the Apartheid Wall that runs close to the Green Line extends from the area of Crimzan monastery in Beit Jala towards the south, until it reaches the village of Surif in the north of Hebron.
This Wall section plays a key part of the Occupationâs myth and propaganda drive around âmodificationsâ to the path of the Wall. In reality, this new stretch of Apartheid Wall close to the 1948 areas of Palestine, still cuts into the lands of several villages. Yet fundamentally, it operates in tandem with the existing path of the Apartheid Wall being constructed to the East of the villages. The project of two Walls, together with the Jewish-only road systems and other Apartheid infrastructure is designed to annex Palestinian land and trap Palestinians inside the area into a hellish ghetto responding to the racist demographic concerns of Zionism. In January 2005 the Occupation Forces declared their intention to annex the whole countryside of Bethlehem, including four Palestinian villages, into the Occupied municipality of Jerusalem. The new plans reveal these villages and their 22,000 inhabitants will be locked behind Walls, exposing the racist logic underlying the Occupation project: the expulsion of Palestinas from their lands.
Designed to meet the interests of the Zionists, the Apartheid Wall which runs in the section closest to the Green Line includes gaps to enable contiguity for the colonies in Gush Etzion with the settlements in the 1948 areas. Moreover, this same section of the Apartheid Wall ends at Wadi Fukin village where the settlement of Bitar is now expanding on Wadi Fukinâs lands to link with the settlements inside the Green Line. Palestinian communities who draw their living from these lands face the total destruction of their livelihoods, as they become confined into ghettos.
This area has already witnessed large swaths of land grab by the Occupation Forces. More than 2000 dunums has been stolen from Al-Walaja and Batir for the so-called Givâat Yaâil settlement. The settlement is projected to have some 13,500 housing units and will hold approximately 55,000 settlers, making it the largest colony in Jerusalem. The settlement is supposed to create a link between colonies inside the 1948 areas and those in Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion settlements, south of the City, serving to shape the demographic goal of achieving the Judeaization of Jerusalem.
Continued expansionism and land grabs, is symptomatic of the destructive colonial Zionist project which unless stopped will annex 46% of the West Bank for its expanding settlements, military zones and Jewish-only roads.