SALFIT, Thursday, March 26, 2020 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Thursday demolished a farming shed and a water well in Deir Ballut town, west of Salfit city, according to an official.
Governor of Salfit Abdallah Kmeil said that Israeli forces escorted a bulldozer into Wadi Sarida area, where the heavy machinery tore down a farming shed and a water well belonging to Aziz Yusef Abdullah, a villager.
He noted that Israeli forces were exploiting the lockdown enforced on the occupied territories over coronavirus spread to expedite the implementation of their schemes to seize Palestinian land.
Located 15 kilometers to the west of Salfit city, Deir Ballut has a population of some 4,100 and occupied a total area of 11,900 dunams. It boasts several archeological sites dating back to the Byzantine era, such as St. Simeon Monastery and al-Qal‘a Monastery.
Before 1948, the village owned 40,000 dunums of land (10,000 acres). In 1967, 20% of the land of Deir Ballut (or 2,000 acres) was confiscated into Israel. Since then, like so many other villages in Palestine, Deir Ballut has been subjected to almost continual land theft for Israeli settlements, bypass roads, and military installations.
Under the Oslo Accords, an agreement made 25 years ago that was supposed to last just five years towards a self-governing country alongside Israel, the Palestinian Authority was given limied control over a small pocket of land occupying 621 dunams, accounting for almost 5 percent of the village’s total area. In contrast, Israel maintains control over the remainder, classified as Area C.
Israel has constructed a section of the apartheid wall, which encircles the village from three directions, confiscating and isolating some 4,050 dunams of fertile land for colonial settlement activities and pushing the villagers into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.
Israel has established two colonial settlements, namely Alei Zahav and Pedu’el, on lands confiscated from the village. It has confiscated more land for the construction of settler-only by-pass road 446, which extends two kilometers on the village’s land.
Israel demolishes Palestinian houses and structures almost on a daily basis as a means to achieve “demographic control” of the occupied territories.
Israel denies planning permits for Palestinians to build on their own land or to extend existing houses to accommodate natural growth, particularly in Jerusalem and Area C, which constitutes 60 percent of the occupied West Bank and falls under full Israeli military rule, forcing residents to build without obtaining rarely-granted permits to provide shelters for their families.
In contrast, Israel argues that building within existing colonial settlements is necessary to accommodate the “natural growth” of settlers. Therefore, it much more easily gives the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers there building permits and provides them with roads, electricity, water and sewage systems that remain inaccessible to many neighboring Palestinians.