Israel illegally confiscated 27,000 decares of West Bank land since Oct. 7: Palestinian Authority

RAMALLAH: Israel has illegally confiscated about 27,000 decares of land in the occupied West Bank and forced 25 Palestinian communities to leave since the start of the war on Gaza last Oct. 7, continuing its decades-long land grab, a Palestinian government body said on Saturday.

“The occupation state makes use of its fierce hostility towards our people in the Gaza Strip by carrying out massive confiscation operations of Palestinian land, affecting 27,000 decares of Palestinian territories,” Moayya Sha’ban, head of the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission (CWRC), said in a statement marking Palestine’s Land Day.

“The area of Palestinian lands actually subject to Israeli measures amounted to 2,380 square kilometres, constituting 42% of the total area of the West Bank, and 69% of the total areas classified as (C), which are areas subject to occupation military rule,” he added.

Sha’ban said Israel has already begun establishing buffer zones around settlements in the West Bank through a series of military orders, warning against “isolating more lands and preventing citizens from accessing them under military and security pretexts.”

After Oct. 7, when Israel’s offensive began, Sha’ban said that Israeli planning authorities subjected to study “a total of 52 structural plans for the purpose of building a total of 8,829 colonial units on an area of 6,852 decares, of which 1,895 units were approved.”

On settler attacks, he said that since last Oct. 7, Israeli settlers carried out a total of 1,156 attacks resulting in the death of 12 Palestinians.

“The occupation measures and the terrorism of colonial militias have led, since Oct. 7, to the displacement of 25 Palestinian Bedouin communities, consisting of 220 families, including 1,277 individuals,” he said.

“The measures of the occupation authorities and the attacks of the colonial militia prevented citizens’ access to more than half a million decares of agricultural land,” he added.

Sha’ban said all these measures “aim to control the Palestinian land … and to eliminate any possibility of establishing a Palestinian state by emptying areas classified as C, isolating the holy city (Jerusalem) from its Palestinian component, and tightening control over it through settlement and expulsion.”

Under the 1995 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was divided into three portions – Area A, B, and C – with area C under administrative and security control of Israel until a final status agreement is reached with the Palestinians.

Under international law, Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal.

Palestine’s Land Day, March 30, is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of the events of that date in 1976 when Israeli authorities confiscated vast areas of Palestinian land.

This year, Land Day comes amid an Israeli deadly military offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack led by Hamas in which some 1,200 Israelis were killed.

More than 32,700 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, in addition to causing mass destruction, displacement, and famine conditions.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.


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