Al Khader: Confiscations and Settlement Expansion
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Al Khader: Confiscations and Settlement Expansion

Land confiscation and Wall construction in Bethlehem district continues unabated. To the west of Bethlehem city, 21 dunums has been confiscated from the village of Al Khader. These lands are owned by 10 families from the village and planted with grapes, peaches, vegetables and wheat. The confiscation took place to enable the construction of the northwestern section of the Apartheid Wall, which will surround the village and strip it of its lands.

Villagers estimate around 600 dunums of their land will be isolated behind the Wall including the most fertile and productive areas. Parts of those lands were recently rehabilitated and planted with olive trees and almonds, alongside the traditional wheat and vegetable production. Confiscating and isolating these lands will destroy the main source of life for 60% of the farmers in the village.

The Wall in al-Khader is set to start from the north (next to Beit Jala) and run several kilometers round to the southern side of the village. This wall is being built to ensure the annexation of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, taking the maximum amount of fertilize Palestinian lands, to create what is called “Greater Jewish Jerusalem”. This Zionist ethnic cleansing project to Judaize Jerusalem will annex 12,000 dunums in total from Al Khader. The historical size of the village was 22000 dunums. The Occupation has confiscated 8000 dunums since 1967 to expand the Gush Etzion bloc. The theft of a further 12000 dunums will leave just 2000 dunums to the village.

In preparation for the Wall, Occupation Forces destroyed a shelter owned by Khalid Musa. This shelter can be added to the 4 houses demolished here on the 27th of July of this year. Meanwhile, settlers from Gush Etzion continue to harass, humiliate and attack Palestinian villagers in the district. Recently, 300 olives trees were torched in the village of Hussan. On September 17th, 30 grape trees in al-Khader were set on fire. Subsequently a tractor owned by local farmer Musa Mohammed Ayash was left with thousands of dollars worth of damage by sand and sugar being placed in the engine.