Israeli forces, on Wednesday, demolished a Palestinian-owned structure used for raising livestock in Rujeib village, to the south of Nablus, according to a local activist.Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors the construction of Israeli settler units in northern West Bank, said that large Israeli forces, accompanied by a bulldozer, cordoned off the structure belonging to ‘Ala Riad and proceeded to demolish it.

WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency reports that data from the Rujeib village profile prepared by the Applied Institute of Jerusalem indicate that the village occupied a total area of about 4,918 dunams, including 1,449 of arable land and 438 within residential area.

The village is famous for the cultivation of olive trees, cereals, especially wheat. The economy of the village is mainly dependent on the agricultural sector, which absorbs 40% of the total workforce. About half of the villagers also rear livestock, like cows and sheep among others.

Following the 1993 Oslo Accords, the village was divided into Area B and Area C, constituting 28% and 72% respectively of the total village area. The villagers, who are concentrated in Area B, are prohibited from building and managing their lands in Area C unless they are authorized by Israeli authorities.

Israel has seized hundreds of dunams belonging to the villagers for the construction of settlements, military bases and by-pass roads. A total of 169 dunams has been seized for the construction of ‘Itamar’ settlement, located on the south-eastern side of the village.

Founded in 1984 and containing approximately 3,564 Israeli settlers, ‘Itamar’ occupies an area of approximately 1,181 dunams. It is also partially built on the territory of the neighboring villages of ‘Awarta, Beit Furik, and Yanun neighboring villages.

Israeli authorities have also seized 3,000 dunams from Rujeib, ‘Awarta, Beit Furik, Yanun and Aqraba village lands for ‘Itamar’ settlement and the adjacent settlement outposts in order to create a barrier between the Palestinian villages and this settlement. Most of these isolated lands are agricultural and an important source of income for the residents of the aforementioned Palestinian villages.

Israel has seized more tracts of land to the south and east of Rujeib for the construction of a new Israeli bypass road linking which links between Huwwara checkpoint and “Elon Moreh” settlement. The length of this road extends approximately 2km onto the village territory of Rujeib, and separates it from Beit Furik neighboring village, that I located near the village on the east.

The settlements are in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which establishes that the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. The Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice have all confirmed that the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and other settlement-related activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are illegal under international law.

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