The ghettoization of the southern part of the West Bank has escalated recently with confiscation orders being issued for the Apartheid Wall, settler-only roads and the expansion of settlements. Last Friday an order for the confiscation of a further 100 dunums of agricultural land was issued in Al Khadr village southwest of Bethlehem for the continuation of the building of the Wall. At the weekly demonstration in Al Khadr last Friday hundreds of residents marched from the town square after prayers to the site of the Wall in protest.
In other areas in the south, confiscation orders were issued for the continuation of the Wall and the construction of a new settler-only road linking the Gush Etzion settlement block, the Karmel settlement south of Hebron and 1948 Palestine. Israel has been seeking international funding since 2004 for 52 settler-only roads totalling 500 kilometers.
Military orders confiscating 152 dunums of land were handed out in the towns of Um Salamuna, Beit Fajjar and Beit Ummar on 7th September to allow a 6.6km continuation of the wall around the Gush Etzion settlement block. A military terminal will be built in southwest Bethlehem at Um Salamuna.
In Um Salamuna the Wall will annex 200 dunums of land and uproot more than 800 olive trees 1500 grape vines and a large number of almond trees and other pine trees. Seven extended families from the town are entirely dependent on this land.
In Beit Fajar, the wall will isolate 1000 dunums, planted with grapes, olive trees and almonds. One resident said:
“This land will be annexed to Migdal Oz settlement and the owners are forbidden to access their land, and especially the soldiers and settlers have tried many times to buy the land, but the people refused to sell it, so they decided to take it using the wall.”
In Beit Ummar the footprint of the wall will destroy 715 dunums south of the town. Alterations to the route of the wall mean that it will now isolate 6000 dunums of farmland, rather than the original 5000. Again the land is richly planted with grape vines, olive trees and almonds. A further 750 dunums from is to be confiscated from the south of the town for the construction of the new settler-only road.
In the last two months occupation forces have begun uprooting land to the south of the town in order to expand Karme Zur settlement. The settlement is to be surrounded by an electrified fence annexing a further 450 dunums.
A few months ago villagers from Beit Ummar and international supporters successfully resisted the destruction of agricultural land for the expansion of Karme Zur by blocking bulldozers. Although a lawyer representing Beit Ummar and Halhul villages managed to get a temporary stop work order from an Israeli court the bulldozers continued to destroy land. :
Residents in Beit Ummar and surrounding villages vow to resist the annexation of more of their land in the coming months.