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Israel confiscates private Palestinian land to enlarge checkpoint

March 27, 2013 12:31 P.M. (Updated: March 31, 2013 1:16 P.M.)
JENIN (Ma’an) – Israeli forces have notified a Palestinian man from the northern West Bank that his tract of land measuring 3,000 square meters near al-Jalama checkpoint north of Jenin in the far north of the West Bank.

Salih Abu Farha told Ma’an that an Israeli officer approached him Friday and identified himself as a commander in charge of lands in military zones.

The officer handed Abu Farha a warrant reading that the administration of al-Jalam commercial checkpoint decided to posses five small tracts of land in order to enlarge the checkpoint and install a security gate at the main entrance.

“All five tracts are private properties of mine and they measure about 3,000 square meters. They are located right in front of the checkpoint, and I turned them into a parking lot for Palestinian workers who leave their vehicles and pay me a few shekels in return. This is my only source of income.”

Abu Farha added that the Israeli authorities confiscated 8,000 square meters of his land in the past few years to be used for the same purpose.

In addition, he added, they prevent him from tending other agricultural lands because they are close to the separation wall. “They declared these lands a closed military zone and nobody is allowed to access them.”

The Israeli officer who delivered the confiscation warrant told Abu Farha he could file an objection against the decision within seven days.

“Objection will not help at all because when the Israelis make a confiscation decision, they always put it into effect,” added Abu Farha. He has appealed to human rights groups for help.

The mayor of al-Jalama, Khalid Abu Farha, described the decision as tyrannical.

“They use weak pretexts. When the checkpoint was established in 2006, the Israelis confiscated 12,000 square meters of private lands of al-Jalama. Before that, they confiscated 360,000 square meters for the separation wall.”

Furthermore, he said, 50 meters from the separation wall along its 3.5 kilometer route are closed military zone which nobody can access.

The mayor highlighted that since 1948, Israeli forces have confiscated about 80 percent of the lands of al-Jalama which is in total about 2,500 acres.
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