Israel to confiscate land of 40 Bethlehem villagers

BETHLEHEM  (Ma’an) — Israeli forces notified villagers near Bethlehem that their  land will soon be confiscated, local residents said Wednesday.

Land  owned by 40 families in Battir village — 148 dunams of vegetable,  fruit and olive groves — is earmarked for confiscation, villagers told  Ma’an.

According to the notices received by villagers, the area  is close to the train line to Jerusalem and next to the East Jerusalem  settlement of Gilo, in which Israeli authorities approved the building  of 1,100 new homes on Tuesday, sparking international condemnation.

The  notification of the Israeli Ministry of Finance’s intention to purchase  the lands said the acquisition was for military and security purposes.

Battir  resident Nidal al-Zaghir told Ma’an the land confiscation “will be a  great loss for the village, as they will lose many of their houses,  water wells and agricultural lands.”

(www.israel-palestinenews.org / 01.10.2011)

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