BETHLEHEM, Wednesday, August 11, 2021 (WAFA) – The Israeli occupation authorities today notified Palestinian landowners of its intention to evict them from their land in Tuqu‘ town, east of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, according to local sources.
Mayor of Tuqu‘, Tayseer Abu-Mefreh, told WAFA that Mohammad Sawarka and Khalil al-Sha‘er received Israeli military orders to “evacuate” and remove all livestock shacks from their land within 14 days.
He added that Israeli forces seized some agricultural equipment and destroyed the doors of the livestock shacks of al-Sha‘er while pointing that the occupation authorities have been targeting Palestinian livestock keepers in Tuqu‘ wilderness in order to expel them and seize their land to make room for colonial settlement expansion.
Located 12 kilometers to the southeast of Bethlehem city, Tuqu‘ has a population of some 9,300 and occupies a total area of 191,262 dunams.
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 occupying 2,991 dunams, accounting for 1.5 percent of the village’s total area. Israel maintains control over 141,682, classified as Area C, accounting for 74.1 percent. The remaining part of 46,589 dunams, accounting for 24.4 percent, is classified as nature reserve.
Israel has established three colonial settlements, namely Tekoa, Meshoki Dargot and Mizpe Shalem on an initial area of 1,436 dunams confiscated from the village. It has confiscated further land for the construction of settlement outposts as well as settler-only by-pass Road No. 901, Road No. 3562, and Road No. 3698, which extend for 17.67 kilometers on the village land.
Israel has constructed a section of the apartheid wall, confiscating and isolating some 4,843 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.