Three Palestinian houses were demolished Wednesday morning in the Al-Rukdah neighborhood of Al-Hader, a village near Betlehem. Tens of soldiers entered the area with a bulldozer and demolished three, one-story houses belonging to a local family. The area was closed for the demolition, and journalists were not allowed to enter the ‘military area.’ The demolition is not considered part of an operation against militant groups, but rather as a step in clearing land for the purpose of creating a separation wall. The proposed path of the separation wall will engulf the greater Jerusalem area and its municipalities into Israeli territory. The path of the wall extends significantly into the East Jerusalem and West Bank area that has been occupied by Israel following the 1967 war.
Four months ago, the Israeli army issued orders to demolish 15 houses in the area. The purpose for these house demolitions, as given under the proposal, was to demolish houses build illegally. Yet it is in the direct path of the proposed separation wall currently under construction, and fits in with a larger effort to include Israeli West Bank settlements within the Israeli side of the wall and cutting off the Palestinian villages. Some of these efforts force Palestinians to relocate entirely for land legally theirs. If this path of the wall is completed in the Al-Hader area, the residential area will be outside of the wall, while their arable land will be on the Israeli side. This land is currently used by Palestinian farmers and is known for its lush grapevines and orchards. Once the wall is built, these farmers will not be able to access their land, and will have no alternative area to cultivate.
Posted By AIC 2005 Fellow
Posted Jul 28th, 2005