30 May 2011 | International Solidarity Movement
Yesterday private Israeli bulldozers arrived in the village of Al Ma’sara in the West Bank and destroyed a section of farm land belonging to the Brijia family, uprooting five grape trees and an abundance of wheat. The bulldozers who were accompanied by Israeli military jeeps belonged to an electrical company who were installing an underground cable to provide electricity to the nearby illegal settlement of Efrat. The family of farmers, who have legally owned the land since 1964 had been given no prior warning of the destruction and neither the workers nor the army could provide any paperwork when asked. This latest destruction of property is a sad blow to a family who have already lost four dunums of their land to illegal Israeli construction.
Al Ma’sara, 13 km south of Bethlehem, is home to about 900 people. The village is situated in a mountainous and fertile rural area which enjoys an abundance of natural water resources. Construction and expansion of Gush Etzion – one of the nearby illegal settlements – has already confiscated a large portion of village lands. Villagers believe that this latest destruction of land is part of the Israeli government’s bigger plan to expand the illegal settlements around Bethlehem and link them together, isolating Palestinian villages, who are already a minority in the area and strengthening Israel’s hold on the West Bank