BETHLEHEM, April 20, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli soldiers Monday prevented a farmer from the village of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, from plowing his land located near the village, claiming it is a state land, according to a local activist.
Coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Committee in the village, Ahmad Salah, told WAFA an Israeli army force and security guards from the nearby illegal settlement of Efrat broke into the area, and ordered Emad Dadou, the farmer, to leave his 10-dumun land, under the pretext it is a “state land”.
The activist said Dadou has legal documents proving his ownership of the land, planted with olive trees, adding that the motive behind this denial of access was to expand the illegal settlement of Efrat at the expense of Palestinians’ land.
Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law, which states that an occupying power is not allowed to make permanent changes to the territory it occupies. According to international law, it is also prohibited for the occupying sate to relocate its own citizens to the occupied territory.
Nevertheless, “Israeli government have implemented a consistent and systematic policy in violation of international law, designed to encourage its citizens to relocate to the West Bank,” reports B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group.
“One means of encouraging settlement is offering financial benefits and incentives to citizens – either directly or to the local Jewish authorities – to raise the residents’ standard of living,” added the group.
“The settlements have been allocated vast areas, far exceeding their built-up sections. These areas have been declared closed military zones by military orders and are off limits to Palestinians, except by special permit. In contrast, Israeli citizens, Jews from anywhere in the world and tourists may all freely enter these areas,” it said.