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Israel razes lands, uproots olive trees in al-Khader village

Oct. 11, 2018 2:18 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 12, 2018 1:15 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli military bulldozers razed Palestinian agricultural lands and uprooted olive trees in the al-Khader village, south of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on Thursday.

Locals said that Israeli bulldozers razed 5 dunams (1.2 acres) of agricultural lands, located between two illegal Israeli settlements of Elazar and Neve Daniel, both built on lands of the al-Khader village, and uprooted olive trees.

Sources confirmed that the razed and leveled lands belonged to Muhammad Moussa.

Locals added that razing of Palestinian lands and uprooting of trees is part of an Israeli plan to expand nearby illegal settlements.

Al-Khader has suffered heavily under the Israeli occupation.

It should be noted here that more than 90 percent of the al-Khader population resides in areas A & B, which constitute only 14.5 percent of the total area of the village.

Of the village's historic 22,000 dunams (5,436 acres), about 20,000 (4,942 acres) are almost entirely cut off by the Israeli separation wall and house three illegal settlements, Efrat, Elazar and Neve Daniel, according to the al-Khader municipality.

These settlements, which cover nearly 2,800 dunams (692 acres), are part of a larger block, known as Gush Etzion, which accommodates more than 60,000 settlers.

Once an agricultural village, Israeli settlers have seized large swathes of al-Khader's farmland, and have uprooted olive trees and regularly attack Palestinian farmers trying to reach their land.

Of the village lands within the separation wall, the municipality says that 800 dunams (198 acres) are classified as Area A and 400 dunams (99 acres) Area B under the Oslo Accord.

The remaining 800 dunams (198 acres) are classified Area C, giving Israel full civil and military authority.

As a result, the village is unable to expand, despite a growing population, and Israeli authorities regularly carry out home demolition.

According to Palestinians and rights groups, Israel's main goal, both in its policies in Area C, in which more than 60% of Palestinian land is under full Israeli control, and Israel's illegal settlement enterprise, is to depopulate the land of its Palestinian residents and to replace them with Jewish Israeli communities, in order to manipulate population demographics in all of historic Palestine.

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