Across West Bank, villages hit with confiscation orders
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Across West Bank, villages hit with confiscation orders

During the month of January, Palestinian villages across the West Bank were hit with a wave of confiscation orders. In the Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron districts, Occupation forces closed or confiscated land for the construction of new segments of the Wall or military infrastructure. Collectively, thousands of dunums have been confiscated, and thousands more will be isolated.

***image3***In the Jerusalem district, 506 dunums of land were confiscated from the village of Abu Dis and the areas of Abu Wadi Hindi and al-Khan al-Ahmar. A new segment of the Wall will be constructed on Abu Dis and al-Khan al-Ahmar lands, running east of Abu Dis and enclosing Ma’ale Adummim, Qedar and the Mishor Adumim factory bloc.

The route of the Wall in the Abu Dis area will isolate tens of thousands of dunums. In addition to the confiscation of land, a 200 strong Jahalin Bedouin community lives only meters from Qedar in Wadi Abu Hindi and will either be isolated or expelled.

In the village of Yatta, south of Hebron, Occupation forces declared 3000 dunums of land a closed military area. The land, which falls south of Yatta, is closed so as to create a buffer zone near the Green Line. This closure isolates land from a number of small communities, such as Sifar, Bir al ‘Idd, Um al-Kher, Imneizil, as well as from villagers in Yatta, who are barred from entering their land without special permission from the Occupation authorities.

Occupation forces aim to construct walled-settler roads and undertake settlement expansion on the confiscated land.

In the Bethlehem district, two villages have been hit with confiscation orders. The first is Nahhalin, located east of Bethlehem and encircled by the settlements of the Gush Etzion bloc, where 10 dunums and 200 meters of land have been confiscated for the paving of a military road. According to the village council, this development will serve to sever the village from more than 4,500 dunums of land.

The land that will be isolated by the road is utilized by the inhabitants of Nahhalin for agriculture, and is home to a number of orchards and olive trees. The most important village well, ‘Ayn al-Faras, is found here and irrigates more than 90 dunums of orchards. Further, the land is crucial to local shepherds, who have seen their livelihoods decimated by the continual land confiscations, settlement expansion and attacks at the hands of local settlers.

***image1***In addition to Nahhalin, the nearby village of Husan also received military orders for the confiscation of 13 dunums and 400 meters. Another section of the Wall will be constructed on this land, separating the village from the settler road and the Betar Ilit settlement and resulting in the isolation of 1860 dunums from the village.

The threatened land is considered to be the most fertile in the area, containing seven wells and a large number of vegetable plots, fruit trees and grazing areas. No fewer than 40 families depend on the land as a source of livelihood.

These confiscations further the annexation of Palestinian land in strategic areas across the West Bank, facilitating the expansion of settlements, especially those in the Jerusalem envelope. Many households have already lost their lands and sources of income, and hundreds more will face the same fate when the new segments of the Wall are completed.