***image2***Many news sources report that Occupation Forces have officially annexed Al Qubbe area north of Bethlehem, an historical part of Bethlehem, into Greater Jerusalem.
Occupation military sources stated that responsibility for this area has been transferred from the army to the border police and regular police. All Israelis can now access this area, which includes Rachelâs Tomb without a special permit. This declaration comes after 35 dunums from Bethlehem were annexed for the Wall in Al Qubbe. The length of the concrete Wall here is 1.75km and 9m high. The Wall winds between houses in the area, annexing Rachelâs Tomb, the Bilal Bin Rabah mosque and an Islamic cemetery.
Before 2000 this area at the entrance to Bethlehem prospered, with many restaurants, souvenir shops, cultural and religious centres. After construction on the Wall started 90% of these establishments closed down. Curfews are frequently imposed on the area. Tony Marqas, head of the Bethlehem Municipality, condemned the ghettoization of Bethlehem: âWe have not been informed about this and will never accept this annexation of 14% of Bethlehem. The construction of the Wall and land theft are contrary to international law and numerous international treaties. These measures are going on all over the West Bank and are part of the Zionist plan of Disengagement.â
Curfews are frequently imposed on residents of the Al Qubbe area, even during the daytime.