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Home Local 30/December/2020 11:26 AM

Israeli forces uproot dozens of olive trees, raze land southwest of Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, Wednesday, December 30, 2020 (WAFA) –Israeli forces Wednesday morning uprooted dozens of olive trees and razed large tracts of land in the village of al-Jab'a, southwest of Bethlehem city, according to local sources.

Director of the Anti-Wall and Settlement Commission Office in Bethlehem Hassan Breijieh and head of al-Jab‘a Village Council Dhiab Masha‘le told WAFA that an Israeli military force escorted bulldozers to Saf Khamayseh area, west of the village, where thy heavy machines leveled hundreds of dunums of farmlands belonging to the Masha‘le family and uproot dozens of olive trees.

Located some 13 kilometers to the southwest of Bethlehem city, al-Jab‘a has a population of some 1,200 and occupies a total area of some 8,000 dunums, 92 percent of which are considered arable land and the remaining eight percent are residential land.

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 limited control over a tiny pocket of land accounting for 3.5 percent of the village’s total area.  Israel maintains control over the remainder 96.5 percent, classified as Area C.

The village is flanked by a section of Israel’s apartheid wall and three colonial settlements, Betar ‘Illit from the north, and Geva’ot and Rosh Zurim settlements from the east.

It has confiscated further land for the construction of the settler-only by-pass Road No. 345 and Road No. 367, which extend for 5.6 kilometers on the village land.

Israel has constructed a section of the apartheid wall, confiscating and isolating some 5,527 dunams of fertile land (accounting for 69 percent of the village area), depriving the villagers of access to their fertile land and pushing them into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.

K.T./ K.F.

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