Illegal Israeli settlements mushrooming on occupied Palestinian lands. (WAFA: File photo)
Bethlehem (UNA-OIC) – The Israeli occupation authorities have approved the construction of hundreds of new housing units on expropriated Palestinian lands to the west of the occupied southern West Bank city of Bethlehem to expand an illegal colonial settlement, a local official said Monday.
Hasan Breijieh, head of the Bethlehem office of the Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission, told WAFA that, based on Israeli reports, the occupation authorities have approved the construction of 500 housing units in the illegal Israeli settlement of Tzur Hadassah, which is built on lands belonging to Palestinians from Wadi Fukin village.
He said that Israel is targeting Bethlehem with plans to expand its illegal settlements built around the biblical city and district since the start of the occupation the latest of which was rezoning al-Tamara village, east of Bethlehem, in order to include more of its land to the area settlements, as well as barring landowners and villagers from accessing their lands located near the settlements.
Palestinian farmers who need to access their lands near settlements or beyond the Israeli apartheid barrier, particularly in the current olive harvest season, are required to obtain a permit from the military government, which is rarely given except for people over 70 years of age who cannot do the work alone, forcing owners to risk reaching their lands without permission.