BETHLEHEM, Thursday, August 29, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli bulldozers today leveled Palestinian land in Wadi al-Makhrour, located to the west of the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Hassan Breijeh, a local anti-wall and settlement activist, said that Israeli bulldozers started leveling Palestinian land in Wadi al-Makhrour, a step which lays the groundwork for the construction of a one-kilometer tunnel that would connect the Gush Etzion settlement bloc with Jerusalem.
Breijeh warned that dozens of dunums of Palestinian land belonging to the largely Christian community of Beit Jala to make room for the expansion of nearby Jewish-only Israeli settlements.
Wadi al-Makhrour, a valley that stretches between Battir village and Beit Jala city, is a popular hiking spot for Palestinians. It is best enjoyed during the late afternoon in the summer when the sun is about to set.
According to the online portal for Palestinian tourism, www.visitpalestine.ps, the area encompasses both natural and agricultural landscapes and is well known for its ancient terraces and stone towers called qusur, built of neatly placed rocks that used to serve as storage rooms for various crops planted in the wadi.
The area is famous for its hills replete with agricultural terraces full of olive, apricot, and fig trees. The abundance of the place is owed to the underground natural springs and also to the hard work of the landowners. Some parts of the valley are home to natural forests with remarkable tree species such as Palestine oak (Quercus calliprinos).
Israeli forces have been targeting Wadi al-Makhrour seeking to forcefully displace the indigenous Palestinian residents from their land for Jewish-only settlement expansion.
The largely Christian city of Beit Jala is flanked by Gilo and Har Gilo settlements to the north and northwest.