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Palestinian committee begins initiative to estimate damages of Israel's separation wall

Dec. 29, 2016 1:20 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 29, 2016 9:34 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian National Committee for the Register of Damages (PNCRoD) has launched an initiative to estimate the damages that have resulted from the construction of Israel’s separation wall, for being built on Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Procedures for the project began on Tuesday in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem in Aida refugee camp, al-Azza refugee camp, and the town of al-Doha, which are all located next to the wall.

Head of the popular committee in Aida refugee camp Sameer Atta said that the procedures were being conducted as a national campaign that aims to accelerate the process of bringing down the separation wall in accordance with United Nations resolutions.

Atta said that merely compensating Palestinians for the cost of the their lands that were confiscated by Israel to build the wall would not bring justice. He said that Israel should also compensate Palestinians for the decades of economic losses suffered as a result of land seizures, taking into account the lost profits from not being able to cultivate their agricultural lands since Israel occupied the territory.

He stressed that Palestinian citizens must cooperate to help the committee in its campaign against the existence of separation wall.

Earlier this week, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem" and emphasized that the establishment of settlements by Israel has "no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law."

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law. The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

Israel began building the separation wall in 2002, and the route has been the target of regular demonstrations by border towns whose land is cut off by its path. Israel has regularly confiscated large plots of Palestinian land in order to build the wall. When the 435-mile barrier is complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the occupied West Bank.

In 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled that the separation wall was illegal and "tantamount to annexation." PNCRoD was formed by an order by International Court of Justice in 2007.

A recent report by human rights group B'Tselem argued that under the guise of a "temporary military occupation," Israel has been "using the land as its own: robbing land, exploiting the area’s natural resources for its own benefit and establishing permanent settlements," estimating that Israel had dispossessed Palestinians from some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of lands in the occupied Palestinian territory over the years.

The movement of Israeli settlers taking over Palestinian land, and further displacing the local Palestinian population has been a "stable" Israeli policy since the takeover of the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967, B'Tselem reported, underscoring that all "Israeli legislative, legal, planning, funding, and defense bodies" have played an active role in the dispossession of Palestinians from their lands.
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