PALESTINE West Bank: Israel’s new wall expropriates peasants of their land

Authorities have started building a new wall west of Qaffin in the northern West Bank. The structure measures 9 meters high and 45 km long, it will be fortified and will have electronic surveillance devices. Palestinian farmer: Before the area was accessible three days a week, now it is “completely prohibited”. The UN Secretary General criticizes Israel’s unilateral initiatives.

Jerusalem () – The Israeli authorities have begun building a cement wall west of the city of Qaffin, north of Tulkarem (pictured), in the northern West Bank, which excludes Palestinians from the area of thousands of hectares of cultivated fields. The new wall stretches from the town of Salem to the city of Tulkarem, is nine meters high and once completed will cover nearly 45 km. In addition to the concrete blocks, other fortifications and electronic surveillance devices will be placed.

“Qaffin peasants have been denied access to 1,236 acres of land,” to which are added dozens of plots in “neighboring villages,” says Muhammad Saeed, a farmer in the area. “Before – he continues – we could enter three days a week” although the Israeli authorities frequently blocked access “under the pretext of security”. But now, with the construction of the wall, it will be completely impossible to enter” and that way they will be able to “expropriate us from our lands.”

Tayseer Amarneh, the mayor of Akba, in the Tulkarem district, says that “this land is Palestinian, but with the construction of the wall we will no longer be able to access it. They steal our lands with the laughable pretext [de la seguridad]”. First a fence and now a reinforced concrete wall, and “the Palestinians are losing land they cultivate” since time immemorial.

Former Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved in November last year the construction of a reinforced concrete wall in the northern West Bank some 100 km long. Israel began building the “wall” in 2002 and, according to estimates by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it is already 712 km long, 85% of which is inside the West Bank and not along it. along the Green Line according to the borders established in 1967. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the wall built by Israel inside the Palestinian territories is illegal.

For his part, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, yesterday openly criticized Israel on the sidelines of the Security Council and expressed his concern about the recent “unilateral initiatives”. He made reference to Minister Ben-Gvir’s “walk” through the Esplanade of the Mosques and to the violence of 2022, the year in which the highest number of deaths has been recorded since the end of the Second Intifada.

The head of UN diplomacy speaks of a “deadly year” for Israelis and Palestinians and explains that, although on the one hand “there is no justification for terrorism”, on the other, measures and decisions that do not help must also be denounced to dialogue and peace. “At the same time – it continues – the expansion of the settlements carried out by Israel, combined with the demolition of houses and expropriations, fuel anger and despair”. “Finally, I am very concerned – concludes Guterres – about the unilateral initiatives that we have seen in recent days. The rule of law is fundamental to achieving a just and comprehensive peace, which is based on the two-state solution, in accordance with United Nations resolutions, international law and previous agreements.”

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