Jerusalem24 – The Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz, reported today, Sunday, that settlers succeeded in controlling large lands in the West Bank during the past five years, depriving Palestinian farmers of access to lands that they used to cultivate in the past.
According to the newspaper, for the past five years settlers established 4 isolated outposts in the West Bank, and succeeded in seizing an area of 20,866 dunums (over 5100 Acres).
Among those settlement outposts is the “Uri Farm” in the northern Jordan valley, which was established in 2016 and takes up 14 thousand dunams (over 3400 Acres). The outpost of Zvi Bar Yosef near the settlement of Halamish which was established in 2019, keeping Palestinian farmers from 2500 dunums of their lands (over 600 acres). A third outpost was established in 2020 east of Yatta taking over 1537 dunums (over 370 acres) of the villages in the area. A fourth outpost was established this year, near the village of Zanouta, South of the town of Al-Dhahiriyeh in Hebron; taking over 1850 dunums (over 450 Acres).
As a study case of this phenomena that has expanded since the 1990s, B’Tselem chose 5 areas in the West Bank with 9 outposts; including the four previously mentioned located in the northern Jordan Valley, villages northwest of Ramallah, villages southwest of Nablus and villages near Hebron.
The organization documented, calculated and determined the size of the lands seized by the outposts in those five areas, which amounted to about 28,416 dunums (over 7000 acres).
The organization emphasized that the settlers use violence against the Palestinians in order to achieve their goals of controlling their lands.
The organization has not yet calculated the extent of the violent takeover of other settlement outposts in the West Bank, but estimates made a year ago by Ze’ev Hefer, CEO of the “Amanah” organization, the executive and commercial arm of “Gush Emunim” that is behind the establishment of outposts, that there are about 200,000 dunams were controlled in the West Bank by the outposts.
B’Tselem does not know the accuracy of this information, but in two other areas in the West Bank that are not covered by the current report, at least another 36,500 dunams were seized. This includes 26,500 dunams for the settlements of Shila and Ali northeast of Ramallah, and 10,000 in Tekoa and Nokdim south of Bethlehem.
The organization’s report included 20 guides describing the violence initiated by settlers in the outposts to attack Palestinians and deter them from reaching their lands, and documents many violations and violent incidents.
In response to what was stated in the report, the Israeli military said that it was making great efforts to eliminate violence in the area and was in direct contact with various civil and security bodies, while the Office of the Coordinator of Israeli Government Operations declined to comment.