Israeli authorities confirmed confiscation of 2,000 dunams of Palestinian-owned land in the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills area. PA: Confiscation constitutes ‘new stab’ by Israel on efforts to achieve peace and the two-state solution.
Israeli authorities confirmed confiscation of 2,000 dunams of Palestinian-owned land in the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills area. The confiscation order, originally issued in 1997, was confirmed this weekend by Israeli officials who refused requests by Palestinians to build on their privately-owned land, located in the Ibe Zaid Valley near the village of Aldairat.
The original confiscation order noted that the land was taken for ‘military purposes’. The confiscated land, however, has yet to be altered by the Israeli army and is located to the west of the settlement of Karmel, which has been expanding in the past year.
Rateb Jbour, coordinator of the South Hebron Hills popular committees, told the AIC that Israel is using the order to ‘displace residents’ and that the confiscated land is planted with olive trees and is also cultivated during the winter with seasonal crops such as wheat.
Jbour said that Israeli authorities issued the original confiscation orders in 1997 and accused authorities of attempting to ‘displace residents.’
Jbour told the Palestinian news agency Ma’an that the confiscated lands are privately owned by the al-Hamamdeh, Abu Aram, al-Naamin, al-Jabbarin, and Muhammad families, who have begun legal action against the orders.
Confirmation of this confiscation order comes just days after Israel announced confiscation of 4,000 dunams of land in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, the largest such land grab in thirty years. Last week Israel further announced expropriation of 12 dunams of land in the Hebron-area village of Seir for unexplained ‘military reasons’. Not coincidentally, the land slated for expropriation is located adjacent to the settlement of Asfar (Metzad).
The Palestinian Authority has strongly condemned the Israeli confiscation in Deirat, saying “The plunder of Palestinian land constitutes a new stab administered by Israel, the Occupying Power, on international law, international legitimacy resolutions, the will of the international community, and on all efforts aimed to achieve peace and advance the two-state solution”.
Palestinian Presidential Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh also slammed srael’s decision to seize 2,000 dunums of privately-owned Palestinian land in this area, saying “As long as Israel announces further orders to seize [Palestinian-owned] land in the [occupied] West Bank, it is destroying everything, making it inevitable for us to seek to convene the UN Security Council and accede to international organizations with the purpose of protecting the Palestinian land”.