Feature: Palestinians face displacement as Israel continues to confiscate land in West Bank

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-09 17:50:46|Editor: Lu Hui
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RAMALLAH, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Zuhdi Awad, a Palestinian in his 40s, received a few days ago an order from the Israeli authorities to confiscate what has been left of his land in the village of Jalboun, east of the Palestinian city of Jenin in the West Bank, allegedly because it is close to the Separation Wall Israel has been constructing in the West Bank since 2004.

More worryingly, this land confiscation also threatens to uproot his entire family who may become homeless afterward.

"At this time every year, my family and I were harvesting olives in our land before it was gradually confiscated for the construction of the Separation Wall," Awad told Xinhua.

According to Awad, his 7,000-square-meter land in the village was all cultivated with olive trees, constituting "the only source of living" for his family.

"The first part was confiscated when an Israeli settlement was built there before the entire land was confiscated for the construction of the wall," he said sadly.

The Palestinian farmer expressed deep concern that the continued Israeli land confiscation may soon lead to his eventual loss of "another piece of land far from the Separation Wall."

The Israeli military has ordered confiscation of 146,000-square-meter land in the village of Jalboun, much more than what is needed for the wall construction, said the village's municipal council.

Nidal Abu Robb, head of the village, told Xinhua that the Israeli army informed several families that they should stop building homes close to the confiscated land.

"The village is subjected to the ugliest confiscation campaign that doubles the clampdown on the villagers," Robb said.

According to the village head, 26 million square meters of land in the village has been confiscated since 1967, including the 3 million square meters recently confiscated for the building of the Separation Wall.

Only 9 million square meters of land now remains, he lamented.

Palestinian officials accuse Israel of and ignoring the two-state solution and planning to annex the entire West Bank through continued confiscation of the Palestinian land.

Central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Jewish settlement issue is one of the main causes of the breakdown of the last peace negotiations between the two sides in 2014.

Majdi Saleh, Palestinian minister of local governance, told Xinhua that Israel is pursuing a systematic plan to annex the West Bank by increasing confiscation of the land from the Palestinians.

"What is happening is considered part of an unprecedented largest campaign targeting the Palestinian land," said Saleh, underlining the need for effective international intervention to stop Israel's settlement expansion.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Khreisheh, Palestinian ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, called on the International Criminal Court in The Hague to start investigation on the illegal settlement activities in the Palestinian territories.

"Settlement is a crime against humanity and a war crime under the Geneva Convention and the Rome Convention," he said.