TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank have seized several hundred dunams of Palestinian land that lies inside zones of Palestinian government control under international agreements, Israeli media reported on Sunday.
Most Israeli settlements — all of which are illegal under international law — lie in Area C, the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control since the 1993 Oslo Accords.
But settlers are taking over land designated Area B, which is under Palestinian Authority civil jurisdiction, and Israeli security control, the report on Israeli daily Haaretz said.
Anti-settlement activist Dror Etkes said aerial photographs show Israeli outpost Amona has seized hundreds of dunams of Area B territory, building roads, planting vineyards and taking over a spring on Palestinian land.
Settlers have taken 93 dunams of land from Palestinian village Yanun, near Nablus, the Itamar settlement prevents Palestinian access to other large swathes of Area B territory in its proximity, according to Etkes.
Near Salfit, settler outposts Esh Kodesh and Mitzpeh Ahiya have planted vineyards and crops on Area B lands, including 100 dunams of agricultural land belonging to the Haj Mahmoud family, according to a petition to Israeli court.
Haaretz reported that Israel’s Civil Administration — the military department in charge of civilian affairs in the occupied West Bank — says it does not have enough resources to track these violations of an international agreement.
But the same department authorized the demolition of hundreds of Palestinian homes in Area C in 2011, displacing almost 1,100 people, over half of them children, according to the UN.
Palestinians can only build on one percent of Area C, most of which is already built up, while settlements continue to expand in the same zone, the UN says.
(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 19.02.2012)