Jerusalem24 – Since occupying the West Bank in 1967, Israel has misappropriated more than two million dunams of land (200,000 hectares) throughout the West Bank. Israel uses this land for its own purposes, including building new settlements, expanding the territory they control – including farmland and industrial zones – and paving roads that mainly serve the settler population.
Settler violence has far-reaching implications on living conditions in the Occupied Territories, as it has a lasting chilling effect. It undermines the bedrock of Palestinian communities’ lives and diminishes their income.
Palestinian communities abandon or scale back traditional vocations such as sheep and goat farming or various seasonal crops, which allowed them to make a dignified living and live comfortably for generations. Palestinian residents stay away from pastureland and water sources that once served their communities, and limit the cultivation of farmland.
In other areas, Palestinians dare not access their farmlands without accompaniment from Israeli civilians or the Israeli military. Some farmlands have been so badly damaged or neglected they barely yield crops, making the effort involved in reaching them unfeasible for the owners.
The result is barriers scattered throughout the West Bank, which, though invisible, Palestinians know not to cross; otherwise, they risk being exposed to violence that may even be life-threatening.
In this episode of Wake-Up Palestine, we speak to Roy Yellin, the Director of Public Outreach at B’Tselem, an Israeli Non-Governmental Organization that documents settler violence in the occupied West Bank.