Land Day: What began in 1976 continues today
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Land Day: What began in 1976 continues today

In 1976, Palestinians protested a massive expropriation of land in the Galilee region. In 2008 the protests continue to mark March 30th, while Occupation forces continue to occupy land and expand the settlements that creep across Palestine.

These settlement practices, which are official Occupation policy, come at a time when the military is intensifying a fierce campaign of home destruction and land confiscation. Recently, more than 35 homes have demolished leaving more than 176 people homeless. Thousands of dunums have been confiscated across the West Bank.

***image2***The West Bank and Jerusalem have witnessed a period of widespread settlement construction. What follows is a summary of the settlement work that is being carried out in three different areas: East Jerusalem as well as east and west of the Apartheid Wall.

Creeping settlement west of the Wall:

Work is being continued on the settlements Ma’ale Adumim and Pisgat Ze’ev, where one hundred new housing units will be added to the later. Both Har Shmuel and Betar Illit, settlements near Jerusalem, have also witnessed widespread work.

The Occupation agreed to the addition of housing units in the Ayalot settlement. In the north, work is being undertaken on Alfe Menashe, east of Qalqilya city. In the south, the Bethlehem area settlements Neve Daniyel, Alon Shvut, Har Gilo and Rosh Zurim are being strengthened.

Creeping settlement east of the Wall:

As far as the east is concerned, the Occupation continues to occupy land that has not yet been isolated and annexed behind the Wall, aiming for localities where there are not high concentrations of Palestinian residents.

Recently, Occupation Minister Ehud Barak has supported moving a number of former Gaza settlers to different locations in the West Bank. Five mobile homes have been put in Tene Amrem, south of Hebron, and another 30 former Gaza settlers have been put in Ariel. A third group of settlers awaits the construction of 30 new settlement units in Maskiyot, in the Jordan Valley. This is in addition to the families that moved to Maskiyot at the beginning of last month.

Settlement plans were completed in Karmel, in the hills of Hebron, and the Occupation recently sent settlers to live in ten newly constructed units. Other mobile homes are still being set up. In Kochav Hashahr new buildings and mobile homes are being added. Also, widespread work continues on Kochav Ya’acov, Qiryat Arba, Suseya and Eli settlements.

According to Ministry of Defence documents revealed two weeks ago, the following plan was completed: In Betar Elit 32 units have been allotted to the settlement. In the Ariel settlement 48 housing units have been approved for sale. In Sha’are Tiqva, the sale of 32 housing units was approved. And finally, the land of the settlement Khorshat Efrat was recognized as state land.

Colonizing East Jerusalem:

On the mountain Abu ‘Ghanim, the Occupation announced that it was opening bidding to Israeli firms for the construction of 307 housing units. Bidding was also opened for the construction of 440 housing units on the land of Sur Bahr (East Talbot). In Neve Ya’acov, objections to the proposed 393 settlement units are being accepted; following this work will commence. In Gilo, a hotel is to be established with the possibility of being transformed into housing units. 1300 settlement units, 105 that will be beyond the green line, have been proposed for Ramot. In Pisgat Ze’ev, there are plans for the establishment of 750 new units and 4000 others in the Giv’at Hamatos neighbourhood. Also, the Nuf Taswin neighbourhood is in the final stage of construction.

House demolitions of Palestinian residents in the West Bank:

In the past three months, Occupation forces have demolished more than 35 homes that sheltered 176 individuals. In addition, tens of agricultural and commercial structures have been razed, primarily in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, Qalqilya, and the Jordan Valley. Villages and cities in other areas have also been affected. On top of this, 50 other homes are under demolition orders, as the Occupation claims that they have been constructed without permits. Land confiscation also has been ongoing since January. In the Hebron area, thousands of dunums have been confiscated near Dhahriya for the construction of the wall and in villages near the green line for construction of a highway. Abu Dis, ‘Azzoun and Wadi Fukin have also suffered from land theft.