For the Construction of the Segregation Wall Land Leveling in Beit Jala North of Bethlehem Governorate

Posted: 12/12/2015

 

On December 9, 2015, the Israeli bulldozers protected by the Israeli Occupation Army resumed razing private Palestinian lands in Bir ‘Ona neighborhood northeast of the city of Beit Jala.

The Israeli land leveling in Bir ‘Ona is a part of the preparations to construct the Segregation Wall in the area. See the pictures below:-

 

The Israeli bulldozers razing the lands in Bir ‘Ona neighborhood-Beit Jala

 It is worth pointed that on the beginning of August 2015, the Israeli occupation authorities placed new signs in many areas in Beir ‘Ona neighborhood in Beit Jala city, apparently for resuming construction of the Segregation Wall in the area. This work comes after nearly a month of the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision in which it gave the green light to the Israeli occupation ministry to complete the construction of the Segregation wall in the Cremisan valley area after years of battles in the Israeli courts regarding the matter.

The  signs placed by the Israeli authorities directly underneath the “Tunnel Road”, which is part of the Israeli bypass Road No. 60 that connects Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem with settlements in the so called “Gush Etzion” settlement bloc south of Jerusalem city.

Later on and on August 17, 2015, the Israeli bulldozers started leveling lands in Bir ‘Ona to resume the construction of the wall. The Israeli bulldozers uprooted Olive trees down the tunnel road (a section of the Israeli bypass road No. 60).

Bir ‘Onah is one of the neighborhoods of the city of Beit Jala.  It is located in the area that was unilaterally annexed to the Israeli municipal boundaries of Jerusalem in the year 1967. The majority of Palestinians living in Bir Onah neighborhood are East Jerusalem ID card holders.

The Israeli Segregation Wall plan on lands of Bir ‘Ona Neighborhood

According to the latest Israeli revised route of the Segregation Wall route published on the Israeli occupation Ministry of Defense website in April 2007 the wall section in Bir ‘Ona will extend a length of 1.2 km on lands of Bir Onah neighborhood and will pass less than 100 meters from the Palestinians houses in the neighborhood. Moreover, the wall will isolate vast areas of agricultural lands, to become on the Israeli side of the wall.

Israel has already completed the section of the wall down the hill where Gilo Settlement exist, to the north of Bir ‘Ona neighborhood. Israel has also lined the path of the wall section which will surround Har Gilo settlement, towards the main road leading to both Cremisan Monasteries (the monks and the Salesian nuns). The only wall section left to be constructed is the one that connects the two aforementioned sections together, starting from Bir ‘Ona neighborhood and extending upwards the tunnel road, to finally connect with the section near Har Gilo settlement. If Israel implements its segregation plans in the area, it will isolate more than 3,100 dunums of lands owned by tens of Palestinian families in the city of Beit Jala; thus depriving them their right to access the Cremisan Monasteries, the school and the only open space left for Beit Jala city. See the map below:

The Segregation Wall plan in Beit Jala city

 

Significant Expansion in Gilo settlement

ARIJ fieldworkers captured photos for construction taking place in Gilo settlement north of Bethlehem and nearby the city of Beit Jala.

It is worth mentioning that on November 11, 2015, what is so-called “Jerusalem's committee for planning and construction” approved a plan to build 891 new housing units in Gilo. See the pictures below:

 

Construction in Gilo Settlement captured by ARIJ fieldworkers

December 9, 2015

 

To Conclude

Israel is moving forward with its colonial and expansionist projects in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) through reinforcing the existence of the illegal settlements, outposts, and other colonial structures in the occupied West Bank.

The  existence of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and their expansions are Illegal and contradicts with the international law rules, United Nations Security Council Resolutions such as 237 (1967), 271 (1969), 446 (1979),  452 (1979) ,465 (1980.

  • Resolution 446 March 22, 1979 calls on Israel to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories"
  • Also the resolution 452 of the 1979 “calls upon the Government and people of Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab Territories since 1967 including east Jerusalem.

 

  • United Nation Security Council Resolution 452 of 1979: 'Calls upon the Government and people of Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab occupied Territory since 1967, including Jerusalem.'
  • Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949: 'the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the Territory it occupies.'
  • The Roadmap of Peace signed on April 30, 2003  between Israel and the Palestinians (originally developed by the United States, in cooperation with Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations (the Quartet)) under which the Israeli Government agreed to freeze all settlement, indicated that: The -Government of Israel- immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001, and, consistent with the Mitchell Report, [Government of Israel] freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).The plan was adopted by the USCR 1515-2003.
  • The Fourth Geneva Convention in Article 174 also prohibits the 'extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly'.

 

Prepared by:  
The Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem