The secret and unauthorized seizure of Palestinian lands in the Jordan valley
” The case of Al Qa’oun Valley Lands “

The secret and unauthorized seizure of Palestinian lands in the Jordan valley <br> ” The case of Al Qa’oun Valley Lands “
‘We used to cultivate the land and plant it for decades until they came and raped our land by force,’ Haji Abed Sawafta cites speaking about his land and the land of his ancestors which was confiscated by the Israeli authorities following the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territory.
The seizure of Al Qa’oun Valley Lands
The land of Mr. Abed Sawafta is located within Al Qa’oun Valley area, in the far north of the Jordan Valley, in Tubas Governorate. The valley was considered ‘a source of living’ for hundreds of Palestinian families which lived in the area before 1967 and still residing in the area. The importance of Al Qa’oun Valley area, rich of natural resource, and its strategic location, adjacent to the Green Line (the armistice line of 1949) has made it the focus of attention to the Israelis who did not hesitate to harness their potential to grab the valley and if by force and annex it to Israel.
The area of Al Qa’oun valley is about 1800 dunums and is mostly agricultural. Land owners used to cultivate the lands until the year 1978 when members of the Israeli Land Administration (ILA) came to the site accompanied by a large force of armed Israeli army, expelled land owners while they were working in their fields and confiscated the lands of the valley. Owners of the confiscated lands stated that the lands were confiscated without prior notification, and they weren’t given any written orders (documents) stating the confiscation and seizure of land, but rather, they were forced to leave the land at gunpoint and by force. Land owners added that following the lands were seized, the ILA leased the lands to Israeli settlers living in ‘Ma’aleh Gilboa,’ and ‘Maaraf’ kibbutzimlocated within the Green Line (Armistice Line of 1949) and close to Al Qa’oun Valley area to cultivate the lands as to strengthen and consolidate the confiscation and seizing of lands and keep them under their control (Israeli Control).
The Israeli Segregation Wall plan consolidates the seizure of Al Qa’oun Valley lands
In the year 2002, the Israeli Government launched its policy of unilateral segregation between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) by establishing a Segregation Zone along the western terrains of the occupied West Bank. The Israeli Government’s pretext to build the wall was to provide security for the people of Israel but the maps that were published on the Israeli ministry of Defense’s web site showed the wall is an interpretation of the long dragged Israeli policy of grabbing Palestinians’ lands as much as possible, before a settlement with the Palestinians is either reached or imposed upon them at a later stage. So far, thousands of dunums of Palestinian lands were confiscated and isolated as more than 60% of the wall’s route was completed. Upon completion, around 13% of the West Bank’s total area will be isolated within the western terrains of the West Bank and annexed to Israel. Accordingly, 107 Israeli settlements housing more than 80% of the total settlers’ population in the West Bank will be annexed to Israel and around 70 Palestinian communities of more than 300 thousand Palestinians will be set within the western segregation zone and isolated from the neighboring Palestinian communities and the center of life in major cities.

Map 1: The location of Al Qa’oun Valley
Construction of the Israeli segregation wall in the far north of the Jordan Valley commenced back in 2005 and was completed in 2006. The Israeli bulldozers razed the lands around Al Qa’oun valley and installed electrified fences in the area so that to include it within the western Segregation zone and effectively annex it to Israel. Since its inception in 2002, the wall has been subjected to many amendments, but none of these amendments excluded Al Qa’oun Valley from the Western Segregation zone, but rather, these amendments focused on areas that raised geographical dilemmas for the wall route in the West Bank, and were made (the amendments) to solve the problems that were considered obstacles to Israel’s task of continuing wall construction in the oPt.
It seems that Al Qa’oun valley has never been considered an obstacle in the way of constructing the Israeli Segregation wall in the oPt; therefore, Israel worked hard to annex it to its proper as to give legitimacy to the illegal confiscation process which took place back in 1978 under the threat of weapons.
To conclude:-
Israel used various means to take control of Palestinian lands ever since its occupation of the territory in 1967. Palestinians always perceived these means as part of intentional mechanisms to serve Israel’s colonial vision in the territory it occupied of establishing settlements and controlling lands and natural resources. In addition, the construction of Israeli segregation wall is no more than another tool employed by Israel to further control lands for further colonial projects which ultimately and unilaterally will redraw the borders of the Jewish state at the expense of Palestinians lands and properties.
The Israeli mechanisms are illegal under international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly forbids the destruction and appropriation of lands and properties not justified by military needs as stated in Article 147of the fourth Geneva conventions of 1949 which states that ‘ The extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly ‘ and Article 49of the fourth Geneva conventions of 1949 which states ‘Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.’ These mechanisms also violate article 17 of the Universal declaration of human rights of 1948 which states that ‘No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.’
[1]  Communities based on agriculture, (agricultural settlements)
[2]  The Western segregation zone: it is, the area segregated between the armistice line of 1949 and the route of the Israeli segregation wall.
[3]  Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, Part IV : Execution of the convention #Section I : General provisions, ARTICLE 147. — GRAVE BREACHES
[4]  Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, Part IV : Execution of the convention #Section I : General provisions, ARTICLE 147. — GRAVE BREACHES
[5] The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 17
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Categories: Confiscation