Israeli Army Razes Land, Blocks Road near Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, September 8, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli army on Tuesday razed a Palestinian-owned land in the village of Artas, south of Bethlehem, as well as closed down an agricultural road in the nearby village of Rashaydeh, according to local sources.

Coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Committee in Bethlehem, Hassan Burejiya, said an Israeli army force accompanied by bulldozers arrived near the village in the morning and razed a 10-dunum-square-meter Palestinian private-owned land owned by Riyad Qaraqe, a Palestinian villager.

The army claimed the land belongs to the state and its Palestinian owner was not allowed to reclaim it.

Burejiya said razing his land comes as a prelude for the expansion of the nearby illegal Efrat settlement. He added the area and nearby localities such as Khallet Nahleh and Khallet Quton have recently been a target of the ongoing illegal settlement expansion.

Meanwhile, Fawwaz Rashaydeh, head of the village council of Rashaydeh, a nearby village, said the Israeli army closed with berms an agricultural road near the village. The road is used by local villagers and farmers to reach their lands at times of harvest, Rashaydeh said.

Settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Golan Heights, both occupied since 1967, are considered illegal under international law.

The United States, along with other world countries, have continuously criticized Israel over settlement construction and expansion.

The Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice have all confirmed that the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and other settlement-related activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are illegal under international law.