Israeli troops annexed Palestinian orchards east of Bethlehem city in
the West Bank, and declared the area as a closed military zone. The
order, signed by General Yaer Neveh, confiscates 3 Dunams and 900
meters that belongs to villagers of Harmala, east of Bethlehem.
The Lands, according to the military order, will be used by the army and will be surrounded by a fence which will isolate them from a settlement road that passes through Za'tara village, east of the city.
The settlement road links several between several settlements in the area and Jerusalem.
Resident Mohammad Atiyya Sbeih, said that the annexed lands belong to his family, and that after the army isolates them, the families will be cut off from the remaining of their orchards.
Settlement construction and expansion continues in the West Bank as Israeli continues to construct the annexation wall which is being constructed within the occupied west Bank and annexing hundreds of Dunams that belongs to Palestinian residents.
Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, repeatedly announced that Israel intends to draw its own borders without any talks with the Palestinians. He announced that Israel would unilaterally redraw its borders by 2010. This includes annexing more lands in order to leave space for settlement expansion, and annexing more Palestinian lands in East Jerusalem.