More Palestinian Land taken in WB
WB settlers steal more Palestinian land
Israeli settlers in the West Bank, often with the cooperation of the state and army, have effectively expropriated thousands of dunams of private Palestinian land in so-called security zones beyond the perimeter of settlements located east of the separation wall, B’Tselem, the Israeli rights group, said in a 58-page report yesterday.
The report, titled “Stolen Land,” deals with official “special security areas” around 12 settlements and many other self-declared security areas policed by the settlers themselves. The report came days after the Israeli government started discussing a proposal by Vice Premier Haim Ramon to compensate settlers who voluntarily leave their homes.
B’Tselem said that for years Israeli authorities have surrounded settlements with parcels of land, which are off limits to Palestinians, and have refrained from eradicating instances of unauthorized closures and the blocking of access by Palestinians to land adjacent to other settlements by settlers. “The prevention of access to Palestinians is one of the many ways used to expand the settlements,” the report said.
In many cases fences were erected far from the settlement perimeters on privately owned Palestinian land by the settlers without Israeli government permission, according to the report. The army later whitewashed the settlers’ actions by declaring all the land between the settlement and the fence as a “Special Security Area,” B’Tselem said.
The report found that a total of 4,560 dunams (456 hectares) of land outside, but surrounding, 12 settlements were officially declared off limits by the Israeli forces. The settlements in question are Adura, Hermesh, Carmei Tzur, Mevo Dotan, Ma’aleh Levona, Nahliel, Atarot, Einav, Pnei Hever, Kiryat Arba, Shavei Shomron and Telem.
Officially, neither Palestinians nor Israeli settlers are allowed to be in the designated areas. But the restriction is applied only against the Palestinians.
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