Israel Orders Infrastructure Works to Stop near Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, December 7, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities Monday ordered infrastructure rehabilitation works in the village of Taqu, southeast of Bethlehem, to stop and seized equipment and machinery, according to municipal sources.

Tayseer Abu-Mefarreh, the village’s mayor, told WAFA an Israeli army force arrived at the village and ordered workers to stop and threatened to detain them if they continue working. The military also sized equipment and machinery from the site.

Abu-Mefarreh said the Israeli procedure came despite of a prior notice of agreement by Israeli authorities regarding works at the site, which is located in Area C of the West Bank, under complete Israeli control.

According to the Israeli anti-settlement group, Peace Now “Over the years, Israel has used a number of legal and bureaucratic procedures in order to appropriate West Bank lands, with the primary objective of establishing settlements and providing land reserves for them.”

“Using primarily these five methods: seizure for military purposes; declaration of state lands; seizure of absentee property; confiscation for public needs; and initial registration, Israel has managed to take over about 50% of the lands in the West Bank, barring the local Palestinian public from using them.”

According to OCHA weekly report covering the period between September 1 and 7 of 2015, “In the southern West Bank, dozens of demolition and stop work orders were issued in Area C, including against 18 residential structures and a donor-funded school serving 40 students in three communities in the Massafer Yatta area (Hebron), which has been designated by the Israeli authorities since the 1980’s as a closed military zone for training, also referred to as the “918 firing zone”.