SALFIT, Israel forces today uprooted over a thousand olive saplings and trees in Deir Ballut town, west of the northern West Bank city of Salfit, according to eyewitness.
They told WAFA that Israeli forces sealed off the western part of the town, known as Khallet al-Abhar, and escorted a bulldozer to it, before the heavy machine destroyed over a thousand olive trees and saplings belonging to local Palestinian farmers.
Located 15 kilometers to the west of Salfit city, Deir Ballut has a population of some 4,100 and occupied a total area of 11,900 dunams. It boasts several archeological sites dating back to the Byzantine era, such as St. Simeon Monastery and al-Qal‘a Monastery.
Before 1948, the village owned 40,000 dunums of land (10,000 acres). In 1967, 20% of the land of Deir Ballut (or 2,000 acres) was confiscated into Israel. Since then, like so many other villages in Palestine, Deir Ballut has been subjected to almost continual land theft for Israeli settlements, bypass roads, and military installations.
Under the Oslo Accords, an agreement made 25 years ago that was supposed to last just five years towards a self-governing country alongside Israel, the Palestinian Authority was given limited control over a small pocket of land occupying 621 dunams, accounting for almost 5 percent of the village’s total area. In contrast, Israel maintains control over the remainder, classified as Area C.
Israel has constructed a section of the apartheid wall, which encircles the village from three directions, confiscating and isolating some 4,050 dunams of fertile land for colonial settlement activities and pushing the villagers into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.
Israel has established two colonial settlements, namely Alei Zahav and Pedu’el, on lands confiscated from the village. It has confiscated more land for the construction of settler-only by-pass road 446, which extends two kilometers on the village’s land.
The Israeli “Civil Administration” is the name Israel gives to the body administering its military occupation of the West Bank.
Soldiers in the oxymoronically named Civil Administration determine where Palestinians may live, where and when they may travel (including to other parts of the occupied territories like Gaza and East Jerusalem), whether they can build or expand homes on their own land, whether they own that land at all, whether an Israeli settler can takeover that land among others.
In contrast, Israel argues that building within existing colonial settlements is necessary to accommodate the “natural growth” of settlers. Therefore, it much more easily gives over 700,000 Jewish Israeli settlers there building permits and provides them with roads, electricity, water and sewage systems that remain inaccessible to many neighboring Palestinians.
Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency