Israeli settlers today fenced off a tract of land belonging to al-Jab‘a village, southwest of Bethlehem, according to a local official.
Head of al-Jab‘a Village Council, Dhiab Masha‘le, said that settlers from the colonial settlement of Beit Ayn fenced off an eight-dunum plot of land in a move intended to expand their illegal settlement, which forms part of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.
Located some 13 kilometers to the southwest of Bethlehem city, al-Jab‘a has a population of some 1,200 and occupies a total area of some 8,000 dunums, 92 percent of which are considered arable land and the remaining eight percent are residential land.
Under the Oslo Accords of 1993, the Palestinian Authority was given limited control over a tiny pocket of land accounting for 3.5 percent of the village’s total area. Israel maintained control over the remainder 96.5 percent, classified as Area C.
The village is flanked by a section of Israel’s apartheid wall and three colonial settlements, Bitar Illit from the north, and Geva’ot and Rosh Zurim settlements from the east.
Israel also confiscated further land for the construction of the settler-only by-pass roads, which extend for 5.6 kilometers on the village land.
Israel has constructed a section of the apartheid wall, confiscating and isolating some 5,527 dunams of fertile land (accounting for 69 percent of the village area), depriving the villagers of access to their fertile land and pushing them into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.