Israel 'to expel' Palestinians from land near Hebron
On the eve of the Knesset elections, Israel has issued five military orders for land close to the Palestinian city of Hebron to be evacuated.
According to "Monitoring Israeli Colonisation Activities", a total of 31.5 durums in the Khirbet Jurat al-Khail district of Saiar town will be affected by the military orders, and could lead to the uprooting of 685 trees.
Israel's Custodian of State Properties issued the ruling and warned the land must be evacuated by its Palestinian residents within 45 days.
A sub-committee that reports to Israel's civil administration in the occupied territories is reported to have registered a new settlement plan for the land that overlooks the Dead Sea.
Khalil Tufekji, director of the maps department at Orient House in Jerusalem, said that a new deposit, numbered 600/7, by the sub-committee for settlements, will lead to the confiscation of huge swathes of Palestinian land.
The land in focus covers a wide tract between the south of Jericho to Ein Gedi on the far southern coast of the Dead Sea.
Tufekji said that this would transform areas controlled by the Israeli military, in the West Bank's Area C, into civil regions for the benefit of the Jewish settler population.
This will lead to the expansion of settlements in the area, with hundreds, or possibly thousands, more settlement units built, in addition to industrial zones, medical tourism sites, and parks for new settlers.
Tufekji said that this would most likely lead to the displacement of local Palestinians.
It could also inhibit their access to water. A Jordanian-Israeli plan to build a desalination plant on the Red Sea coast should benefit Palestinians - but only if they are allowed access to the plant.
"This will prevent the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state with distinct borders and full sovereignty over the land. This means that the [Israeli] settlement projects are progressing at an accelerated pace," Tufekji said.
This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.