World Bulletin/News Desk
The Israeli army has notified a number of Palestinian farmers in the northern West Bank provinces of Jenin and Tulkarm that it had seized thousands of dunams of their agricultural land for "security reasons," a Palestinian official said Wednesday.
"The Israeli army gave farmers orders not to work or build on their farmland," Saleh Amarneh, head of a local council in Jenin, told Anadolu Agency.
"The orders came along with maps indicating the seizure by Israel of thousands of dunams of land stretching from western Jenin to northern Tulkarm," he said, adding that the area in question was located near Israel's separation barrier.
One dunum of land is roughly equivalent to a quarter of an acre.
According to the Ramallah-based Palestinian government, the separation barrier – which snakes through the West Bank, isolating large swathes of Palestinian territory – cuts some 50,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem off from the city center.
According to Amarneh, the orders mean that the Palestinians cannot use any of the land in the designated area for purported "security reasons."
"This move is unjustified as the Palestinian farmers have documents proving their ownership of this land," Amarneh said. "Seizing this land means denying them their only source of income."
Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has continued to misappropriate Palestinian land in the West Bank – on which it continues to build numerous Jewish-only settlements – in breach of international law.
In September, the Israeli authorities announced a decision to confiscate 4,000 dunams of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank in a move strongly criticized by the international community.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories, considering all Israeli settlement building on the land to be illegal.
Last Mod: 19 Kasım 2014, 15:35