A new order issued by the military commander of the West Bank announced to Palestinians that they are no longer allowed to be on their land west of the separation wall. The order, which was distributed in Hebrew and illegible Arabic last week, states that the land west of the wall is a closed military area and that only Israelis, those eligible to be Israelis under the Law of Return (i.e. practically every Jew in the world) or those issued special permits would be allowed to be on the land.
Nothing in the order guarantees that permits will be granted to these Palestinian landowners, nor even respecated if granted.
The idea of applying for a permit to be on oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own land is rejected by Palestinians who have been on these lands for generations. In addition to the thousands of dunams of farmland, water wells, and greenhouses that are being isolated from their owners, thousands of Palestinians reside in 15 villages that fall between the wall and the Green Line. According to this new order, these Palestinians are Ã¢â‚¬Å“illegallyÃ¢â‚¬Â residing in their homes now.
In building the Separation Wall, the Israeli government has insisted that it is not confiscating more Palestinian land and has argued against the negative impact of this wall on Palestinians by claiming that farmers with land falling on the other side (west of the wall) will have access points Ã¢â‚¬â€œ openings that they can pass through into their farmlands. Since the concrete walls have been built and the fences erected, a small number of gates have been built into the barricade and a prison-like system of access to orchards for farmers implemented.
Starting Friday October 3 the gates were not opened to farmers and remained totally closed since.
This military order is seen by Palestinians as another political move, part of a political initiative Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the Seperation Wall, in IsraelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s overall political plan to remove them from the area, taking their land. According to Israeli State Law, land that is neglected for 3 years or more can be siezed for state use. Making it almost impossible for Palestinians to be on their land ensures long-term neglect and thus Ã¢â‚¬Å“legalizedÃ¢â‚¬Â confiscation of the land by the Israeli State. Soldiers enforcing this new order have already called it for what it is Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬Å“this land is now IsraelÃ¢â‚¬Â an Israeli soldier screamed at a Palestinian farmer in Jayyous as he forced him off his land yesterday.