Israel officially declares the annexation of Rachel’s Tomb Area to Jerusalem

Israel officially declares the annexation of Rachel’s Tomb Area to Jerusalem

Israel is finally sealing off the Rachel's Tomb area from the rest of Bethlehem Governorate, including those with land and properties ownership. Palestinian owners whose properties are located inside the Rachel's enclave have reported on the 28th of August that they are no longer allowed to access their properties as the Israeli Occupation forces gave orders not let anyone inside the enclave as they're preparing to isolate the area and rig large iron gate along the 30 foot cement partition surrounding the tomb site thus permanently sealing off the area from Bethlehem Governorate. See Photo 1 



The Wall around Rachel's Tombs area is a porch extension from Rachel's Terminal (Gilo 300) located north of Bethlehem city where the route of the Segregation Wall runs across the northern parts of Bethlehem governorate. This part of the Segregation Wall stretches a length of 1.3 kilometers, comprising about 2.5% of the total Wall length in Bethlehem Governorate. See Map 1



The construction work on the extension to enwrap Rachel's Tomb area started in February 2006 when the Israeli bulldozers rushed to the site and started to translate plans into tangible actions; painful and dreadful actions felt by the Palestinian who were forced to stand and watch the bulldozers demolish their properties and ravish their lands. At the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000, Mussallam family was among the first families to feel the brutality of the Israeli steel when part of their house, which was adjoining to Rachel’s tomb was demolished to rig a military watch tower; allegedly to guard the tomb site. From that time, the plan to enwrap the tomb site was devised and work progress became inconstant based on the political circumstances. Today as construction work is completed, the Tomb site is enclosed with cement partitions of 30 – 36 foot high in addition to four military watchtowers.


Palestinian Families Affected by the Rachel's Tomb Arrangement

Mr. Khalil and Yousif Mussallam are owners of two houses located next to the tomb site. Mr. Yousif's house was confiscated at the beginning of the second Intifada as the Israeli soldiers took over the house and blocked the traditional Bethlehem-Jerusalem road with concrete and huge road blocks to prevent Palestinians accessing this road to their houses and workshops located at the other side of the tomb more importantly to Jerusalem and vice versa. Mr. Khalil's house is built of two floors, the first of which he uses as a coffee shop to earn a living while the second is rented by Mr. Tawfeek An-Natsheh, a blacksmith working in his workshop since 1966. Furthermore, in April 2006, the Israeli Army confiscated a land area of 4.8 Dunums that belong to Sansour family; also located close to Rachel’s tomb and adjoining Mussallam's family house in order to carry out the Rachel's Tomb plan.


The three families, Mussallam, An Natsheh and Sansour are first hand victims of the Israeli Segregation Wall surrounding Rachel’s Tomb area as they lost their properties and a significant proportion their main source of livelihood.


Access to Rachel's Tomb

Israeli sources said that access to the Tomb site will only be limited to Jewish pilgrims who wish to visit the tomb and no entry permits are required. Prior to the Israeli occupation, the Tomb site was under the Arab administration, access to the site was a right to all pilgrims from all over the world. Now, exclusive to Jewish pilgrims and tourists from other countries of the world; the access to the Tomb site from Jerusalem will be through Rachel's terminal (Gilo 300) then on to a designated road already constructed alongside the Segregation Wall and guarded by Israeli soldiers; to reach the Tomb area.



All evidence on the ground shows distinctive evidence of the Israel’s intentions to annex Rachel’s Tomb area along with all what was entrapped within the concrete partitions to Jerusalem disregarding all agreement and treaties signed with the Palestinian side, violating numerous international and humanitarian laws.


Related cases about the Israeli Plans at Rachel's Tomb area


Prepared by
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Military Orders