Israeli settlers graze their cattle on Palestinians groves south of Bethlehem

Israeli settlers today grazed their cattle on Palestinian groves in al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, causing significant destruction, according to a local official.

The town mayor, Ibrahim Mousa, said that a group of settlers grazed their livestock on 15 donums of land planted with olive saplings and chickpeas, belonging to Hisham Barmil and located west of the town.

The assailants came from the nearby colonial settlement outpost of Sidi Boaz, built on Palestinian-owned land.

Located 4 kilometers to the west of Bethlehem city, al-Khader has a population of some 12,500 and occupies a total area of 8,280 dunams.

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 some 1,200dunams, accounting for almost 14.5 percent of the village’s total area. In contrast, Israel maintains control over the remainder, classified as Area C.

Since the start of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967, like so many other villages in Palestine, al-Khader has been subjected to almost continual land theft for Israeli settlements, bypass roads, and military installations.

Israel has constructed Efrat and NeveDaniyyel colonial settlements on an area of 6,329 dunums of Palestinian land, including a portion confiscated from al-Khader. It has also constructed a section of the apartheid wall, isolating some 5,620 dunums of the town’s land for colonial settlement activities and pushing the villagers into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.

It has confiscated more land for the construction of a tunnel and a crossing, controlling Palestinian movement from Bethlehem city and the western countryside villages.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA)