Israel grabs Palestinian land, isolates villages in Jordan Valley
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Israel grabs Palestinian land, isolates villages in Jordan Valley

Mutaz Bisharat, an official who monitors Israel’s settlement activity in the Jordan Valley, told Arabic-language Voice of Palestine radio station on Tuesday that officials had seized 51,000 dunams (51 kilometers meters) of Palestinian-owned land, isolated 5 villages and took control of water springs, agricultural machinery as well as solar cells in the regions. Bisharat added that the Israeli regime’s policy in isolating villages of the Tubas district is very clear, stressing that these areas were marked as closed military areas banning their owners from entering without an Israeli-issued permit. He stressed that Israel aims to expel Palestinians from the area under its plan to seize the Jordan Valley area. In February, Ir Amim, an Israeli NGO opposing Tel Aviv’s settlement expansion activities, published a new map that illustrated an “accelerated, intensifying chain of new facts on the ground in the most historically contested and politically sensitive part of Jerusalem [al-Quds]: the Old City and adjacent ring of Palestinian neighborhoods,” which help reinforcement of settlement plans. The NGO pointed to a number of Israeli-sponsored settlement campaigns inside Palestinian neighborhoods, including “settler initiated evictions of Palestinians, takeovers of their homes, and the expansion of settler compounds,” in addition to the use of the so-called “touristic settlement sites” as “key points” contributing to the campaigns. Ir Amim said the supposed tourism and archaeology projects “assume a central role in Israeli settlement policy.” About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions. Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds. Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

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