Israeli settlers today razed large tracts of Palestinian land belonging to Awarta town, south of Nablus city, according to a local activist.
Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors Israeli colonial settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said that settlers escorted several bulldozers to an area of the town’s land, known as al-Khirbeh, where the heavy machineries leveled the land to expand the nearby colonial settlement of Itamar.
Located some seven kilometers to the south of Nablus city, Awarta has a population of some 7,500 and occupies a total area of 13,450 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 39 percent of the village’s land (some 5,300 dunams). 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 seized an area of at least 2,450 dunums for the construction of Itamar colonial settlement, located to the northeast of the village. It has also seized more land to set up two military bases and five colonial outposts on the eastern hills of the settlement.
It has also isolated some 3,000 donums of land belonging to Awarta and other nearby Palestinian villages for the benefit of colonial settlement expansion, pushing the villagers into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.