Jerusalem24 – Head of the Map Department and settlement expert, Khalil Al-Tafkaji, revealed a series of decisions and bids, including the announcement of a group of projects according to item “21-a” for mining and quarrying in the West Bank in Areas “C.” According to Tafkaji, the aim of which is to control Palestinian resources in these areas and above the ground and the underground water resources.
Al-Tafkaji told the Palestinian daily newspaper, “Al-Quds,” that the Israeli decisions and tenders focused on confiscating lands and allocating them as cemeteries for settlers, and expanding the Israeli quarries in the West Bank at the expense of the Palestinian quarries. These Palestinian quarries are part of the sources of income and one of the components of the national economy, and a large part of them are located in Area ”C”, as the occupation seeks to control it and build new Israeli quarries in their place.
He added: “One of the objectives of the plan is to expand control of groundwater and provide concessions to settlers to strike several targets, including Palestinian agriculture and natural reserves, and to control Palestinian sources and wells in Area C, and this is a dangerous matter and has future implications.”
He stressed that among the plans and the Israeli draft resolution, a group of bids that confiscate large areas in the West Bank near settlements and allocate them as cemeteries for settlements in Area C, and this is a big problem and has religious dimensions as it becomes difficult to remove even in the event of an agreement to remove the settlers or get them out of those small and isolated settlements.
Al-Tafkaji indicated that the quarries in the settlements are a slow and continuous danger. He said that according to Israeli statistics on only one site of the activist “Dor Atkis.” Atkis who monitors settlement activities submitted a petition against the quarries, between the years 2009 and 2014. Quarries in the settlements of the southern West Bank occupy approximately 500 dunams, and in some cases; quarries seized private Palestinian-owned land.
He stressed that the settlers are claiming that the quarries are located in “C” lands in the West Bank, which is still under negotiation. According to claims of the settlers, the final status of these lands has not been decided upon, and that they have the right to exploit its resources until the completion of negotiations and a final settlement.