Occupation Forces have announced the confiscation of over 16 dunums of land (16044 square maters) from Aqraba, a village to the east of Nablus. The confiscation was made to build a sniper watchtower in the east part of the village, to prevent Palestinian access to their lands that stretch through the Jordan Valley. In total, 2000 dunums will be cut off from the villagers, land which they have continuously cultivated and lived from.
The Occupation has attempted to isolate Palestinians from these lands in previous years. For decades the area has been designated as a âclosed military zoneâ. The villagers refused to accept these orders of the Occupation and continued to use the Palestinian land as they saw fit. This involved the grazing for over 4000 goats. In defiance of the military orders, they even continued to plant on segments of the land. Meanwhile, other parts of the land was gradually stolen and controlled by settlers who began to stream into the Jordan Valley. They cultivated and took profit from large chunks of the land, depriving the Palestinians from the profits and revenue of their property.
Aqrabaâs land is part of the Jordan Valley, which comprises 28.5% of the total West Bank territory and constitutes the only connection between the West Bank and Jordan. With the occupation of the area in 1967, the Zionist forces decided to annex the Valley and to use it as military zone and area for settlement expansion.
The construction of the Apartheid Wall is now cementing this plan on the ground. Since 2002, the Occupation has declared the Jordan Valley a âMajor Governmental Projectâ for settlement expansion. As a result the destruction of Palestinian land, house demolitions, and the expulsion of the Palestinian people in the area has escalated. The sniper tower in Aqraba forms part of a series of sniper towers, checkpoints and closed military zones to force totalitarian control over the people, to encircle and annex the Jordan Valley and, ultimately, end Palestinian existence in it.