Settlement expansion on Masha lands – a Zionist tool to consolidate land theft
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Settlement expansion on Masha lands – a Zionist tool to consolidate land theft

***image2***Elkana settlement has taken over Masha lands in the east of Salfit district since the 1970’s. New expansion plans will swallow further village land isolated behind the Apartheid Wall. While the gates and the wall are barring farmers from reaching their lands, settlement construction destroys their plantations.

Villagers learned about the new settlement expansion on their land through a Call for Quotation to build 54 housing units in Elkana settlement which was published in Occupation newspapers. The new housing units will be built north of the current settlement construction on the village lands isolated by the wall.

Since the beginning of this Intifada, Occupation forces have been working on construction sites in and around the settlement. Olive trees continue to be uprooted during Elkana’s continual expansion. The settlement initially took about 2,000 dunum of Masha land. The Apartheid Wall isolated another 4,000 to 4,500 dunum from their owners. These lands are full of olive trees and around 400 to 500 dunum are cultivated with vegetables and host greenhouses.

Two gates have been built to complete the Wall. One closes the village from the West. It is built for the exclusive use of Hani Amer and his family, whose house has been caught between the Apartheid Wall and the fencing of Elkana in a veritable prison. Another one bars the way to the lands north of Masha. It has been dubbed a “seasonal gate” and it is almost always closed. Farmers have been allowed to pass 5 days since the beginning of the year (during February and March) to prepare the land for the planting season. Even those few days gave only villagers “with permit” access to their lands. In Masha, 150 farmers did not get any permits, while some 500 villagers got “permits” for a gate near Beit Amin, one hour away from Masha, while the north gate is not more than10 minutes away from the village.

The Wall has thus continued the dispossession of the people in Masha. The village that once owned 8,800 dunum is now left with not more than 1,800 dunum. The land and lives of the people are completely imprisoned by the continuous Zionist colonization of their lands that is determined to fragment and destroy Palestinian existence in Salfit district for the sake of expansion of Ariel Finger settlements.