Israeli Company Surveys Land in Hebron for Settlements’ Road Expansion

HEBRON, August 30, 2015 (WAFA) – An Israeli land surveying company Sunday surveyed tracts of land adjacent to Hebron-Jerusalem highway 60, and belong to several local Palestinian families, said a farmer from Hebron who witnessed the Israeli company begin surveying works.

Atta Jaber, a local Palestinian farmer, told WAFA the company was surveying Palestinian private-owned lands at a 12-meter-depth from both sides of the road, just to the outside of Beit Enounjunction.

According to WAFA’s correspondent, the company which is yet to be identified is most likely surveying land to expand the Hebron-Jerusalem highway 60 starting from the Beit Enoun junction all the way to al-Baq’a area, in which the Jaber family has few dunums of land.

Jaber said the lands being surveyed, including al-Baq’a, are the most fertile in the area and are planted with thousands of grape trees.

The witnesses said if the land in question was confiscated, they would be seized for the benefit of illegal Israeli settlers who use the road to move between the southern illegal settlements.

Peace Now, an Israeli human rights group, says over the years, Israel 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,” the group argues.

Since 2009 and until 2014, figures show the Jewish settler population in the West Bank has grown by 23 percent. With this growth, more land is being confiscated for public needs to construct and expand roads, build new settlements and residential units as well as confiscate land for settler’ personal benefit.

According to the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR), there are currently 121 Israeli settlements and approximately 102 Israeli outposts built illegally on Palestinian land occupied by Israel since 1967 (West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights). The largest of the illegal settlements is Modi’in Ilit, with a population of 46,245 as of 2009.