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22 Jul, 2015

Israel Razes Land in Hebron, Bans Construction of Bethlehem Soccer Field

HEBRON, July 22, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Wednesday bulldozed around 20-dunums of Palestinian-owned agricultural land in the town of Beit Ola to the northwest of Hebron, and ordered ending the construction of a soccer field to the west of Bethlehem.

Coordinator of the anti wall and settlements committee Issa al-Amlah, informed WAFA that a large Israeli force accompanied by three bulldozers stormed an area in the town and razed around 10 dunums of land planted with olive trees. The land belongs to Farid al-Amlah.

Forces further razed another 10 dunums belonging to the family of Abd al-Qader al-Amlah.

The land was razed under the pretext of being located in ‘state land’ and as a prelude to take over it from its original owners.

Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities ordered to stop the construction work on a soccer field in the village of Wadi Fukin to the west of Bethlehem.

Head of Wadi Fukin village council, Ahmad Sokar, told WAFA locals found a notice at the field, which is located adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Bitar Elit in Area C, which is under full Israeli military control, ordering the construction work on the field to stop under the pretext of being built without permit.

The notice gave those in charge of the field up to three weeks to file a petition against the decision.

According to Alternative News, “Already surrounded by Tsur Hadassah and the settlements of Beitar Illit and Hadar Beitar and with new plans to build a further settlement to the west, Wadi Fukin residents fear being completely surrounded by settlements. And as 60 percent of the community’s population relies on agriculture for their livelihood, the land grab will have disastrous effects on their economy.”

B’Tselem the Israeli human rights group said, “The settlements have been allocated vast areas, far exceeding their built-up sections. These areas have been declared closed military zones by military orders and are off limits to Palestinians, except by special permit. In contrast, Israeli citizens, Jews from anywhere in the world and tourists may all freely enter these areas.”

According to a report by Applied Research Institute (ARIJ), “The consecutive Israeli governments adopted a policy to acquire much of the West Bank lands to build and expand the Israeli settlements by employing different methods; most renowned of which, “Security,” which is also, how Israel was able to restrict Palestinian towns’ development on the remaining areas.”

It said that, “Since 1967, Israel utilized all the laws that were once running in this part of the land; at least the ones that it can make use of to justify its occupation in an attempt to legalize the various methods it uses to carry out its systematic policy to confiscate Palestinians’ lands to make it available for the occupation Army or/ and for the Israeli settlers.”

The report which covered Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt), from June 13, 2014 to April 15, 2015, ARIJ institute said that, Israel as an entity along with the Israeli settlers confiscated, destroyed, and seized for the so called “military purposes” around 415,266 dunums of Palestinian land in the West Bank.