Israeli Forces Destroy Farmlands near Hebron Village

HEBRON, February 23, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces destroyed Monday large tracts of Palestinian farmlands in Khirbet Zanuta village in Adh-Dhahiriya area to the southwest of Hebron.

Israeli military vehicles, escorting bulldozers, stormed the section of the village near the illegal settlement outpost of Shim‘a, where they proceeded to destroy tens of dunums of farmlands belonging to Adh-Dhahiriya.

These Israeli practices are meant to strip the indigenous people of their land and displace them as a prelude to seize their land for settlement construction.

According to Khirbet Zanuta Village Profile drafted by the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), the village residents depend on agriculture, livestock rearing and dairy production for their livelihoods.

The village occupied a total area of 12,000 dunums, including a one-dunum built-up area. Agricultural land occupied an area of 3,000 dunums, while a total of 9,000 dunums are classified as open space area. The 3000-dunum-sized agricultural land is cultivated by field crops.

Local farmers are the most affected by the Israeli occupation’s practices. Owing to its adjacency to the Green Line, the village has suffered considerably from occupation, particularly due to the construction of the segregation wall. About 200 dunums of village lands were confiscated during the Second Intifada.

Khirbet Zanuta is surrounded by Israeli settlements of Shima and Tene to the west, and a bypass road runs through the center of the village from west to east. Approximately six kilometers of the segregation wall have been constructed on Khirbet Zanuta land since 2004. Five cisterns have been destroyed due to the construction the wall.

The settlements are in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which establishes that the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. 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.