“For Security & Military Purposes” Expropriation of five Dunums in al-Walajeh village lands Northwest of Bethlehem Governorate

“For Security & Military Purposes”
Expropriation of five Dunums in al-Walajeh village lands Northwest of Bethlehem Governorate

On February 1, 2016, Palestinian residents from al-Walajeh village northwest of Bethlehem governorate found a poster with an expropriation order for five dunums form al-Walajeh lands.

ARIJ field workers interviewed Mr. Abdel Rahman Abu atTin the head of al-Walajeh village council where he indicated that a local residents found a confiscation order issued by the Israeli Ministry of Finance .

Mr. Abu atTin added that there are three water springs ( Ein al-Hadafa west- Ein Al-Juwaiza northwest and  Ein al-Hanya north) while the three aforementioned springs used to be a legitimate targets for the Israeli authorities and the Israeli settlers as well. Ein al Juwaiza destroyed by the Segregation Wall, and Ein Al Hanya  controlled by the “Israeli Antiquities Authority” where an excavations took place in the site many years ago, while Ein al-Hadafa now to be targeted by the proposed route of the Segregation Wall section in the area targeted by the confiscation order. See the map below:

Moreover ,the announcement, which were signed by the Israeli Finance Minister, Moshe Kahloun, on the 28th of December 2015, were cited as “announcement  of the intention to acquire the rights of land and land ownership, required under emergency regulations, for public purposes (with reference to section 5 and section 7 of the (Land Acquisition for Public purposes Ordinance No. 24 of 1943)”. The published announcements target a total of 4998 m2 (4.9 dunums) in ‘Ein al- Hadafa in Khallet el- Samak area west of al-Walajeh.

The announcement order justified the expropriation of the five dunums of lands “to maintain the separation wall which addresses the security threats, and to protect the national security”.





Photocopy for the expropriation order


‘Ein Al Hadfa area – the site of the confiscated lands

Al -Walajeh is a small Palestinian village located about 4 kilometers to the northwest of Bethlehem city and 8.5 km to the southwest of the city of Jerusalem. The village houses a population of approximately 2,373 residents (PCBS Population Projections -2013). It is bordered by Battir and Husan villages from the southwest, by Sharafat village and Gilo settlement (established in 1971) from the east and by Har Gilo settlement (established in 1972) from the southeast, and the rest of the village is loop by the Israeli bypass road # 60.

It is worth mentioning that Al Walajeh Before the 1948 war, was spread over an area of 17.8 km2 and its boundaries extended westwards beyond the Armistice Line (the Green Line), and after the 1948 war, the village lost 75% of its lands and came to spread only over a total land of 4.4 km2 (24.8 % of its original area).

Following the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands in the year 1967, Israel unilaterally declared a new municipal boundary for the city of Jerusalem, where it expanded from 6.5 km² to 71 km² to include lands from nearby villages, these lands where then annexed to the state of Israel. Part of Al Walajeh village, in particular Ein Juwaiza neighborhood which has an area of 2.1 km2 was included within this annexed land.

 Geopolitical Classification of Al-Walajeh lands

According to Oslo Interim Agreement, signed in September 1995, between the Palestinian National Authority and the Israeli government, Al Walajeh lands were classified into areas B and C; 113 dunums (2.6 percent of the total area of the village) of which were classified as area B, in which public order falls under the Palestinian National Authority's responsibility, where Israeli has full control over security matters. As for the remaining part of Al Walajeh lands, 4215 dunums, (97.4%), were classified as area C, an area that is under full control of the Israeli government. Since Israeli has control of this land, Palestinians are prevented from construction or benefiting from this land in any way possible, unless they get permission, which is extremely difficult, from the Israeli civilian administration in Bethlehem. It is worth mentioning here that area C includes agricultural lands, open spaces and small parts of urban areas. See the table below:

Land classification in Al Walajeh according to Oslo II Agreement in 1995

Land Classification

Area – Dunums

% from the village total area

Area A



Area B



Area C






Source: Geo-informatics Department –ARIJ- 2016


The Israeli Colonial Activities in al- Walajeh village

Al Walajeh is bordered by two Israeli settlements from the east; Gilo, and Har Gilo, the Israeli settlement of Har Gilo from the south, and the Green Line from the north. After the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, successive Palestinian Localities Study Bethlehem Governorate 17 Israeli governments pursued an aggressive policy of land confiscation for the construction of Israeli settlements, military bases, and bypass roads to link the settlements to each other. Al Walajeh, like other Palestinian villages and towns, lost part of its lands, around 137 dunums (3.2 percent of the total area of the village) for the construction of the Israeli settlements of Gilo, and Har Gilo. See the table below:

Illegal Israeli Settlements built on Al Walajeh village land


Year of Establishment


Area – Dunums





Har Gilo








Source: Geo-informatics Department –ARIJ- 2016


Moreover the Israeli bypass road number 436 extends for 2.5km on Al Walajeh southern part; isolating 713 dunums of Area A.

The Segregation Wall Strangulated al-Walajeh

 The Israeli racist discrimination plan, represented mainly by the construction of the Segregation Wall, has a negative and destructive impact on Al Walajeh. According to the updated Segregation Wall plan published on the web page of the Israeli Ministry of Defense in April 2007; the Segregation Wall will extend for 6.3km on Al Walajeh lands; thus isolating and confiscating 4209 dunums of the village territory (97 percent of the total area of the village). The majority of this land is agricultural land, forests, and open areas (See table 10). This is in addition to the annexation of the Israeli settlements, Gilo and Har Gilo, to Israel. Moreover, the Racist Segregation Wall will surround Al Walajeh village from its east, west, and north sides. As for its southern side, there is a fortified road, controlled by the Israeli army, alongside bypass road number 436, which is considered the only outlet available for the village residents who are heading towards the services center in Bethlehem city. Also, the southern part of Al Walajeh will be surrounded by 2.4km wall, along the bypass road number 436, which will be protected from both sides with ditches and barbed wires (ranging between 80 and 100 meters wide). In general, the wall will isolate the village from other Palestinian villages in the rural west and the major cities in Bethlehem Governorate.

Al Walajeh Proposed Terminal

In February 9, 2006, the Israeli Occupation Army issued a new military order # (06/25/T) to confiscate 39.8 dunums from Al Walajeh village and Beit Jala city. The order identified the reason for the confiscation as “military purposes,” which was later defined for the construction of a new crossing in the area, (Har Gilo Crossing). The crossing aims to control movement of Al Walajeh residents between their village and services in Bethlehem Governorate and beyond. The military order comes in parallel with the Israeli Segregation Wall plan, which is set to encircle Al Walajeh. Residents of the village will only have this crossing to move in and out of their village, which will be under the Israeli Army’s control, virtually making the residents prisoners in their own village.

The proposed Settlement of Giv’at Yael

Giva’t Yael Settlement In June 2004, the Israeli authorities announced the construction of a new settlement (Giva’t Yael) in Al Walajeh village. The plan is to build this settlement on an area of 2000 dunums of the Palestinian land in Bethlehem governorate that will include more than 13,200 residential units and will accommodate 55,000 Israeli settlers. The construction of this settlement will complete the cycle of Israeli settlements, which separates the city of Jerusalem from other Palestinian cities and surrounds Bethlehem Governorate with Israeli settlements from all sides; starting from Har Homa in the north-east, till Gilo and Har Gilo in the north, towards Giva’t Yael settlement, which is planned to be constructed in the north-west, and ending with Gosh Etzion settlements, south of the Governorate.

“Refaim park”…another land swallowing in al-Walajeh   

On July 7, 2013, the District Planning and Building Committee related to the Israeli Ministry of Interior approved the town plan No. 12222 to build what is known as “Refaim Metropolitan Park” in the southern parts of the city of Jerusalem. According to the plan that developed by the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem and what is so-called “Israeli Development Authority”, Refaim Valley Park will occupy an area of 5,700 dunums, of which, 1850 dunums beyond the Green Line (Armistice Line of 1949) on lands belonging to t Al-Walajeh village residents (1200 dunums), while the remaining areas owned by the residents of the nearby town of Battir.

It’s worth pointed that Refaim Park is part of three large metropolitan “parks and green areas” being developed by the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Development Authority. Two of these parks, Arazim and Motza, are entirely within the Green Line in the western parts of the city Jerusalem.

The plan designates the area for forestation, preservation, recreation and light service facilities. Unlike the string of parks located around the Old City, this area does not resonate with religious historical and cultural sites, and the primary motivation behind it is genuinely environmental.

Moreover Refaim Park will be linked with the Arazim and Motza Parks by a 42 km bicycle path and hiking routes. Additionally an extreme sport center, horse riding center, water park, outdoor education center, sport fields, picnic areas, and arboretum will be created in the park system, with a NIS 250 million endeavor funded by the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem,  Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, Jerusalem Development Authority, and Ministry of Environmental Protection.

As a matter of fact, all al-Walajeh private lands, that lie between the Green Line and the Segregation Wall encircling the village of al-Walajeh,  would be under the authority of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and even more the proposed park occupies all of the open and public spaces between the expanding settlements on the southern parts of the city of Jerusalem while erasing the Green Line and de facto shaping a buffer zone interrupts the geographical contiguity between Jerusalem and Bethlehem Governorate. See the map below:


Legal & International Status


 The Israeli confiscation and targeting of the Palestinian residents and their properties in all parts in the oPt are illegal and constitutes a grave breach of the International law rules and conventions:

  • Article 2 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads that: 'Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it is independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.'
  • Article 3 states that 'everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person'.
  • Article 13 states also that '(1) everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.'
  • Article 25 states that '(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.'
  • According to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, Israel, as an occupying power is prohibited to demolish Palestinian houses as stated in Article 53 of the Convention which states that: 'Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. 
  • Moreover and according to article XXXI of the 1995 Oslo agreement, Israel,is forbidden from building or planning to any project or settlements or any colonial expansion or any plan that lead to change the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The article provides 'Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations'.
  • Also the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965), Article 5provides that: 'States' Parties undertake to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in all of its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: … (e) in particular … (iii) the right to housing'.
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of, December 10, 1948Article 17 reads: 'No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.' Which means it bans Israel from destroying or confiscating the property of the Palestinians at any case. 
  • Moreover Art. 23 of the Hague Convention of 1907also provides: In addition to the prohibitions provided by special Conventions, it is especially forbidden to destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.

    Prepared by:
    The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem


Categories: Military Orders