Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers issued orders barring residents of four small villages in the southern West Bank from their land, mayor Suleiman Al-Adam said Sunday.
The orders declared the agricultural land a closed military zone, and ordered farmers and others working on the land to evacuate. The soldiers also confiscated farming equipment, a statement by Beit Ula’s mayor said.
The villagers stand to lose more than 5,000 dunums (five square kilometers) of land, on which more than 60 Palestinian families from the villages west of Hebron depend for their livelihood, the mayor said.
The mayor said farmers were given 45 days to submit an appeal to the Israeli military court, adding that Beit Ula municipal council would help residents with this.
A spokesman for the Israeli Civil Administration said he was not familiar with the reports.
The village land lies on the proposed route of the separation wall.
A recent report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs found that once completed, the wall will annex 9.5 percent of Palestinian land.
Only 15 percent of the wall’s projected route is on the Green Line, the 1967 border with Israel, with the remaining 85 percent cutting inside the West Bank.
Six years ago, the International Court of Justice ruled the wall a violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, and called on Israel to cease construction, dismantle constructed parts and pay reparations to those already materially damaged by it.
Since the ruling, Israel has added approximately 200 kilometers to the wall, OCHA reported.