The Occupation has issued a new master plan to the village Bruqin, allowing residents to build on a small portion of Area C land. This move does little to reverse the devastation brought on by more than 20 years of settlement activity on village land and, like the rerouting of the Wall in Jayyous, is an attempt to deflect criticism away from Occupation policy and practice.
On 7 September the Occupation Civil Administration has issued a new building master plan for the village of Bruqin, located in the western Salfit district. The plan amends the amount of land designated as Area C, giving local residents the option of building on 52 dunums of their land that had been off limits following the Oslo Agreements. Previously, the people of Bruqin had been prohibited from using this land without first obtaining a permit from the Occupation administration.
The area of land being returned to the village is miniscule and, when looked at in the context of settlement activity, effectively immaterial. Settlement construction began on Bruqin land in 1981, when the Barqan and Brukhin settlements were erected to the north. The Ariel settlement went up in 1999, also partially on village land. Collectively, the settlements have stolen 8,000 dunums of land, much of it agricultural, leaving the village with only 5,237 dunums. The Wall is projected to cut through the West Bank just north of the Brukin, permanently isolating the land and cutting the village off from the north.
The minor amendment to Area C zone does little to change the lives of the villagers, who have seen the majority of their agricultural lands isolated and used for settlement construction. Like the Occupation High Court decisions to reroute the Wall in Jayyous and Biâlin, the new Bruqin master plan is little more than a media play, the latest in a series of empty gestures that take attention off the ongoing colonization and ghettoization of the West Bank.