One week ago heavily guarded Israeli bulldozers dredged the lands of Amatin Village, 15 kilometers east of Qalqiliya in the area known as Jabal Abu Suwayd.

Farmer Al Haji Suleiman Ghanem, who owns 80 square dunams of land planted with olive trees, has lived in the area since the 1950s. His family relies on olive oil production. However, farmer Ghanem told PNN Thursday, “The occupation army prevented me from entering my land on Saturday.”

He added, “The dredging includes building roads and imposing iron columns, and I do not know what is their purpose, however it seems to be that they are taking my land for a settlement.”

An Israeli military spokesperson says they are expanding four settlements in the northwestern West Bank area, including Oranit Settlement south of Qalqilia, built on lands of Sineria and Azzun Atma villages. Settlers dredged 86 dunams of land belonging to farmer Ahmed Mahmoud Abu Sheikh.

All settlements are illegal under international law. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was pleased that US President Bush is behind his increase in settlement plan, and intentions to cut Jerusalem off from the West Bank entirely with the Wall and by expanding Ma’ale Adumim. At the same time in order to appear as if he were "easing conditions on the Palestinians," Olmert says he will cut more holes in the Wall to make passage within the West Bank "easier."