Settlement expansion, closures in West Bank

04 Aug

co-written by: Ahmad Jaradat

On Thursday Israel’s Housing Ministry proposed the building of 72 more housing units in the settlement of Betar Ilit in the West Bank. In the past year many proposals have been approved for further expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank despite requests by the international community to uphold its promise to freeze settlement expansion. These steps are part of an effort to solidify Israel’s hold of the greater Jerusalem area.

Construction of the second section of the wall began in the West Bank city of Qalqilya on Wednesday morning. This part of the wall will be four kilometers long and 100 meters wide. 2000 dunams of Palestinian land will be confiscated for the construction of the wall. This land includes portions of olive tree field currently used by Palestinian farmers. Parts of it will be destroyed for the wall’s construction, while other areas will be on the Israeli side of the wall and the farmers will not be able to access it. In some areas the wall will extend 25 kilometers into the West Bank area, engulfing the greater Ma’ale Adumim settlement.

All entrances of Qalqilya remain closed and many checkpoints were set up across the city on Wednesday morning. In one checkpoint near Azoon, Palestinians waiting in line were said to have been checked physically and asked to remove their clothing. Their signatures and fingerprints were taken as well.Israeli forces reentered Tulkarm Wednesday morning and closed all the entrances. They set up checkpoints inside the city itself, in effect sequestering each neighborhood in the area. The southern part of the city was the main focus of the Israeli forces. The forces used loudspeakers to evacuate all the Palestinians from their homes in order to search the houses. Doors were forcefully broken and many household items were left damaged or in disarray. Some Palestinians were arrested in the process, including Palestinian National Council member Adnan Domeiri.

All entrances around the Jenin area are closed in preparation for the withdrawal of four Israeli settlements in the area. In Hebron, the Israeli army beat a 17-year-old Palestinian boy after stopping him on his way home. He was taken to the hospital and is considered in serious condition. In another incident, a 23-year-old boy walking through his family’s land was beaten by settlers who had claimed the land to be theirs. He is said to be recovering in a local hospital.

Posted By AIC 2005 Fellow

Posted Aug 4th, 2005

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