NABLUS, March 21, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities have decided to take over 1,200 dunums of Palestinian-owned land outside the villages of Sawiya, Lubban esh-Sharqia, and Qaryout, to the south of Nablus, according to a local source.
Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in northern West Bank, told WAFA that Israeli authorities decided to declare the said land as a “state property”, meaning that it will be expropriated from its original Palestinian owners.
The land to be confiscated is close to Eli and Shilo, two illegal Israeli settlements located along Nablus-Ramallah highway.
Peace Now, an Israeli human rights group, says, “Over the years, Israel has used a number of legal and bureaucratic procedures in order to appropriate West Bank lands, with the primary objective of establishing settlements and providing land reserves for them.”
“Using primarily these five methods: seizure for military purposes; declaration of state lands; seizure of absentee property; confiscation for public needs; and initial registration, Israel has managed to take over about 50% of the lands in the West Bank, barring the local Palestinian public from using them,” it added.
Since 2009, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office, until 2014, figures show that the Jewish settler population in the West Bank has grew by 23 percent.
According to the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR), “There are currently 121 Israeli settlements and approximately 102 Israeli outposts built illegally on Palestinian land occupied militarily by Israel since 1967 (West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights). The largest of the illegal settlements is Modi’in Ilit, with a population of 46,245 as of 2009.”
It added, “These settlements and outposts are inhabited by a population of some 462,000 Israeli settlers: 191,000 live in settlements around Jerusalem and an additional 271,400 are spread throughout the West Bank.”