BETHLEHEM, August 2, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli occupation forces Sunday dumped large amounts of soil in agricultural land belonging to Palestinian locals in the town of al-Khader to the south of Bethlehem, according to one of the land owners.
The owner, Issa Salah, told WAFA that he was surprised when he arrived in his land to see large amounts of soil dumped in his land, along with other neighboring land belonging to other locals.
He said another land was razed for the benefit of building a cement wall for a nearby settlement.
Salah expressed fear that his land would be seized for the benefit of settlement expansion, due to the proximity of his land to the illegal settlement of Ifrat.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as ‘occupied territories’ and considers all Jewish settlement building on the land illegal.
According to United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL), “Israeli settlements are an obstacle to the creation of a future Palestinian state.”
It said that, “ Israel has committed itself under the Quartet road map to freeze all settlement activity, including the “natural growth” of settlements, a commitment never fully implemented.
“While there was a partial freeze of settlement activity for a period of 10 months in 2010, since then no further measures have been undertaken to meet that commitment.”
UNISPAL said that Estimates of the Israeli settler population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory vary between 500,000 and 650,000, living in some 150 settlements and 100 “outposts” in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
“The settler population (excluding that of East Jerusalem) has grown over the past decade at an average yearly rate of 5.3 per cent, compared with 1.8 per cent for the Israeli population as a whole.”
It stressed that, Israeli legal and administrative measures to furnish socioeconomic incentives, security, infrastructure and social services to citizens of Israel residing in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, amount to the transfer by Israel of its population into the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” which is prohibited under international law.
“The continuation of that transfer and the maintenance and expansion of settlements have severe negative impacts on the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.”
It said that, the right to self-determination is generally understood as having several components, including the right to have a demographic and territorial presence and the right to permanent sovereignty over natural resources.
“Those elements are adversely affected not only by the expansion of Israeli settlements but also by the mere presence of the settlements,” added UNISPAL.