Palestinians Used as Scapegoat for Illegal Land Confiscation

September 3, 2014

In late August the Israeli cabinet decided to snatch more good land across Jaba, Surif, Wadi Fukin, Husan and Nahalin. This would be the largest land grab in thirty years, according to data compiled by the Israeli human rights organization “Peace Now.”

The article, “Israel confiscates 1,000 acres of Palestinian land south of Bethlehem” provides more information about Prime Minister Netanhayu’s plans. It is reprinted from Ma'an News Agency (8/31).

Israeli authorities on Sunday announced the confiscation of around 4,000 dunums (1,000 acres) of private Palestinian land south of Bethlehem.

Palestinian owners of the land were given 45 days to submit formal objections to the announcement in Israeli courts, otherwise all confiscated lands would automatically become Israeli government property.

Mayor of the nearby Palestinian town of Surif Muhammad Ghuneimat told Ma'an that Israeli forces posted signs in private olive tree orchards in the area warning that they have been confiscated by the Israeli government.

Ghuneimat added that the confiscated fields belonged to Palestinians from the towns of Surif, Husan, al-Jabaa and Bethlehem. Part of the lands being confiscated are already home to the illegal Jewish settlement of Gvaot, part of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.

The announcement reportedly came as a response by Israeli political authorities in response to the abduction and killing of three Israeli teens in the area near Gush Etzion settlement bloc in June.

The Etzion settlements council welcomed Sunday’s announcement, saying in a statement that it “paves the way for the new city of Gevaot.”

“The goal of the murderers of those three youths was to sow fear among us, to disrupt our daily lives and to call into doubt our right to the land,” it said. “Our response is to strengthen settlement.”

Since mid-June, Israeli authorities have announced more than 1,472 new settlement homes, slated to house around 6,000 Jewish settlers, across the West Bank, including around Bethlehem.