A section of the Israeli separation wall is seen between the Shufat
refugee camp and Pisgat Zeev in an area Israel illegally annexed
after capturing it in 1967. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)
Ma’an News is reporting Israel is planning on annexing an additional 456 dunams of land from the Jerusalem village of Beit Iksa to extend the wall. Beit Iksa is in area B under the civic control of the Palestinian Authority.
Head of Beit Iksa village council Kamal Hababa said villagers were shocked when they saw the notices detailing plans to seize agricultural land, officials news agency Wafa reported.
The notices invited residents to participate in a tour with Israeli military officers along the proposed route of the barrier, Hababa said, adding that villagers refused to take part and vowed to confront soldiers if they come to the village.
The wall, when finished, will surround the village on all sides and annex around 12,000 dunams of agricultural land used for growing olive trees and grape vineyards.
Beit Iksa’s 2,000 residents will be left with only 300 dunams of land for natural growth and will be separated from Jerusalem and isolated from the rest of the West Bank, Jerusalem governorate official Muhammad Tari said.
The village is located directly opposite the illegal Ramot Allon settlement, which is considered part of Jerusalem by Israel but is illegal under international law.
Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad’s swiftly condemned the seizure of Beit Iksa’s land at a news conference on Sunday calling it a violation of international law and said ‘the international community must not turn a blind eye to it.’
He pointed out that this decision will not only isolate the village of Beit Iksa and turn it into a prison, but will also confiscate the residents’ only source of living, especially that this decision will take away twice the land according to the residents.
Fayyad confirmed that this barrier will cut off most of the village’s agricultural land, leaving no chance for future construction and development. This decision will threaten the Palestinian entity in the area.
He emphasized that it’s no longer acceptable for the international community to only condemn Israel’s settlements’ policies, but must adopt serious measures to hold Israel accountable for it settlement activities and endangering the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967.
Fayyad called on all civil and official institutions to stand with the residents of Beit Iksa in their ordeal, and to help them protect their land.
This follows a harsh pattern of retaliatory measures Israel has taken since Palestinians went to the UN last month.