Walling In the Bethlehem Ghetto: Beit Jala Land Seizure

Walling In the Bethlehem Ghetto: Beit Jala Land Seizure

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's policy of disengagement and separation is being put into effect in an ever accelerating pace. The daily changes on the ground are best exemplified by expanded confiscation orders, and construction of the wall and bypass roads taking place throughout the West Bank.  Yesterday, the 20 of April 2004, as construction of the wall continues around the Bethlehem enclave, the Israeli Occupation forces (IOF) handed out new military orders seizing more land. 


Bethlehem is currently surrounded by 15 km of the segregation wall with an Israeli approved plan of an additional 35 km of the wall to be constructed. See map 1  



Map 1: The Israeli plan in Bethlehem Governorate


On April 19, 2004, the Israeli Occupation forces – IOF – began implementing more of their plan for the Bethlehem district by handing the residents of the town of Beit Jala land seizure orders.  Military order n0 04/32/T will result in the seizure of 175.6 dunums of land from Beit Jala and Al Walaja residents upon which the Segregation Wall will be built to continue the construction of a ghetto composed of the built-up sections of Bethlehem city and its surrounding urban neighborhoods which includes Beit Jala. Among the owners, the following were known:



Owner Name


Roujina Elias Tabkha


Bishara Musa Al Matari


Yacoub Elias Tabkha


Saliba KHalil Al Tareh


Yousef Nicola Tabkha


Jamil Khalilia


Walid Nai'm Salman


Jodeh Al 'Araj


Ni'ma Al Sima'n


Nabeh Rabee'


Shukri Yousef Abu Muhur


Jabra Yousef Abu Muhur


Jadallah Farah Zayed Rabee'


Mariam Khalil Zayed Rabee'


Farah Jeries Makhlouf


Michael Suliaman Abu Muhur


Owner Name


Zakhariya Elias Zreneh


Saba Andrea Al Hadwa


Butrus Fransis Lolas


Iskander Al Khouri Jeries Yacoub


Hilwa Jeries Elias An Najjar


Nicola Yacoub An Najjar


Ibrahim Sa'eed A Shatle


Jeries Al Hseen


Elias Jadallah Musleh


Saliba Hanna Qusta


Issa Khamis


Hanna Abdullah Al Hseen


Farid Ibrahim Al Mukarker


Fuad Ibrahim Al Mukarker


Murqus Ibrahim Al Mukarker


Roman Orthodox Patriarchate Land


The following table also shows the blocks of land seized under this most recent military order:  



Block #

Parcel name

Al Walaja


Al Sarj , khalet Al Husein

Beit Jala


Ruweisat, Al Ras , khirbet Injar , butein Al jarbi, khalet Al 'Abass , Al habal , 'Ein Hantash 


Al Cremesan ( for Cremesan Monastery, Cremesan Nuns Monastery and Kindergarten)


As shown in the map of the Israeli military order, six separate sections of the already approved overall plan of the Separation Wall are to begin construction as represented by this military land confiscation order.  Part of the land seizure (two sections) will allow the Israelis to build a wall on each side what is now known as bypass Road # 60.  As shown, Route 60 passes through the heart of Beit Jala lands and separates the town from its agricultural lands that extends west of Beit Jala. See map of military order


The other four (4) sections of the Separation Wall will continue the enclosure of Beit Jala and the Al Walaja village leaving the Har Gilo settlement, located in Al Ras area (top hill of Beit Jala )free for Israeli annexation.  See map  of military order as provided by Israelis


As envisioned by Israel, the Har Gilo settlement, together with the rest of the Gush Etzion settlements, will compose the southern boundary of Israel's planned 'Greater Jerusalem' or 'Metropolitan Jerusalem'.  Israel's completion of the 'Greater Jerusalem' plan will incorporate not only Gush Etzion, which is one of the largest Israeli colonized blocks in the West Bank, but also the Ma'aleh Adumim and Giva'at Zeev Israeli settlement blocks. This unilateral incorporation of these settlement blocks is, in its essence, an illegal annexation of major portions of occupied Palestinian land as defined by the 1949 armistice line and therefore represents a serious violation of international law.  Furthermore, it will explicitly separate the religious and cultural sites of Jerusalem city and its Palestinian institutions from the remaining portions of the West Bank. See map of Metropolitan Jerusalem



Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem



Categories: Military Orders