In Response to Obama Defeat and the Tri-Party Meeting in New York:
Israel Declares its Intention to Establish a Large New Colony on Palestinian Lands
Violation: Re-emphasizing the confiscation of more than 3000 dunums from the lands of Al Walajah.
The Violator: The Israeli occupation government and the Jerusalem Municipality.
Date of Violation: September 30th, 2009.
Location: The village of Al Walajah – lands located in the vicinity of the colony of Gilo.
Nature of Lands: lands planted with almonds and olive trees whose owners were prevented from accessing it for the past years.
Goal of Violation: The establishment of a new colony including 13,600 colonial housing units that would function as a connection between the Jewish neighborhoods in West Jerusalem and the colonies of Bitar Illit and Gush Etzion.
Since the year 1948, Israeli authorities have always targeted the village of Al Walajah which is located 8.5 kilometers southwest the city of Jerusalem and about 5.4 kilometers northwest the city of Bethlehem. The area of the village prior to 1948 Nakba was 17,793 dunums. Israel occupied 11,793 in the aftermath of Al Nakba. The shrinking of the area of the village continued after the 1967 Six Day War to become only 6000 dunums of which 500 dunums were confiscated to open the Tunnels By-Pass Road in 1996 while an additional 1000 dunums were confiscated to expand the colony of Gilo between 1996 and 1997. Currently, the Israeli occupation authorities are considering the confiscation of 3,000 additional dunums for the purpose of continuing the establishment of the Racist Isolation Wall and a new Israeli colony.
Photos 1+2: The targeted Walajah lands
Israel Disregards International Law and Declares its Intention to Build a New Colony at Al Walajah:
Israeli sources indicated on the 30th of September, 2009, that a plan does exist to build 13,600 colonial housing units on Al Walajah lands. The plan will be presented to Israeli Interior Ministry and the Planning Department at the Jerusalem Municipality for final approval. Along with the construction of the planned housing units, it is expected that a large number of the houses in the village of Al Walajah will be demolished as more than 26 Palestinian houses in the village were demolished by Israeli forces due to “lack of permit.”
Since the year 1989 the Jerusalem Municipality has been planning to build a new colony in Al Walajah named Giva’at Ya’el consisting of 13,600 colonial housing units designed to accommodate 25,000 new colonists. The intention to build this new colony is voiced between now and then by the Israeli government. Stopping the construction of the Racist Isolation Wall at the outskirts of Al Walajah is an evidence of the intention of the Israeli occupation to build such a colony. The Director of the Planning Department at the Jerusalem Municipality (a.k.a. Follik) mentioned that “half of the area of Al Walajaah is outside of the boundaries of Jerusalem. We have to change the route of the Wall to annex the whole village into Jerusalem.” The planned route of the Racist Wall would divide the village into two sections along with their 2000 families. The area is targeted as, according to the Deputy Head of the Jerusalem Municipality, “there is a need for a Jewish population in the area as to affect the demographical situation.” The planned colony would guarantee a Jewish continuity between Jerusalem and the colonies on Gush Etzion.
Photo 3: Some of threatened houses in Al Walajah
On the ground, Israeli occupation forces have been raiding Palestinian houses in Ein Jweiza (the neighborhood in Al Walajah that was annexed into the municipal boundary of Great Jerusalem with a current population of 600) between now and then and arrests Palestinians from inside their homes under the pretext that their presence in there is “illegal”. It has to be mentioned that the Jerusalem Municipality does not issue any building permits in the Ein Jweiza section of the village which makes the houses there under the threat of assured demolition.
The head of Al Walajah Village Council expressed the following for the Land Research Center (LRC)’s field researcher: ‘ This is a colonial plan which the Israelis are striving to implement. The non-implementation of the Wall in our area is the biggest evidence pointing to such an endeavor. According to the information that we have, the plan is to confiscate 3,000 dunums from Al Walajah in order to construct a big colony to connect between western Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion colonies. This will threaten all of the Palestinian houses in the village as well as those around the colony of Gilo’.
The village of Al Walajah has always been targeted for future colonial expansion. The colonial company of Ya’eil has been trying to take possession of Palestinian lands in the Walajah areas of Wadi Ahmad, Al Natoor, the village of Abdel Ghani, Ras Al Hinniya, Al Hadayef, Khillet Al Ashara, She’ib Jabal, Al Kokala, Al Ruweisat, and Al Tanateer. The total area of these locations is around 4,000 dunums of which 1,000 are planted with almond and olive trees. Most of the aforementioned lands are located near eastern and southern entrances of the village, near Al Malha neighborhood in West Jerusalem as well as near the colony of Kiryat Minaheim.
Renewed and intense work at a feverish rate by the colonial company (part of the colonial movement of Ateret Cohanim) has been witnessed over the past one year. The far-right colonists Davidsin and Cohin have made it a habit to raid the targeted lands with about 20 workers to plant trees. Palestinian land owners make themselves available in their lands and prevent these workers from continuing their work. Trees are usually uprooted as land owners see that as a first step for the de facto annexation of the land. The next stop; the colony.
The Land Research Center
The Land Research Center
Categories: New Israeli Settlements