Israel separation wall to swallow up more Palestinian farmland in West Bank

Israel separation wall to swallow up more Palestinian farmland in West Bank
Israel is planning to build a new section of its separation wall which will isolate the villages of Sinjil and Turmus-Aya and seize farm land.
4 min read
02 May, 2024
The vast majority of Israel's illegal settlements are built either entirely or partially on private Palestinian land [Getty]

Israeli authorities have announced plans to construct a new concrete barrier to cut Palestinian villagers from their farmland.

The separation wall will span several kilometres, starting at the villages of Sinjil and Turmus-Aya in the central West Bank and ending near the entrance to the illegal Israeli settlement of Shiloh, south of Nablus.

If built, the wall will isolate the two Palestinian villages and appropriate over 30,000 dunams of their farmland.

The planned barrier will be built along Route 60, a major highway running through the north of the occupied West Bank, which connects the Ramallah and Nablus governorates.

It will swallow up a number of houses owned by Sinjil residents, and leave the remainder of its inhabitants effectively imprisoned with no direct contact with the outside world.

"All this is happening so as to carry out what goes by the name of 'the Abraham Accords'," deputy chair of Sinjil Municipality, Baha Fuqaha, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister edition.

"I'm not exaggerating; the occupation is progressing with its colonisation plans, and all the justifications [for the wall] it is promoting are lies. It claims it wants to protect the settlers from the stones thrown by the youth at their cars when they are driving down this road.

"But does this justify stealing over 30,000 dunums? Does it justify enclosing two large villages and isolating them from their surroundings? The settlement project won't show anyone mercy, therefore we must challenge it with all our strength."

Sinjil is surrounded on all four sides by five Israeli settlements and an Israeli military base with some of the village's most fertile land seized for their construction.

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"What they want, with planning this wall, is to join these settlements together, which will mean we will be in front of a massive settlement bloc, protected by military observation towers equipped with electronic cameras," Fuqaha said.

"These settlements aren't separated by anything but farmland belonging to Sinjil, and there is no way to connect them except by seizing these lands, the area of which amounts to thousands of dunums, and [this] will reduce the village lands available for accommodation and farming."

The wall will also force Sinjil residents to use alternative routes to reach the main highway - one of many restrictions imposed on residents.

These restrictions have intensified since 7 October, when iron gates were installed at the main entrance to the village while all other entry points into Sinjil were closed with earth mounds to prevent movement between the villages.

However, the gravest danger of this project, according to Fuqaha is that residents will be prevented from reaching the thousands of dunums of their farmland on the other side of Route 60.

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Residents fear the wall is the first step to completely isolating their village from its lands - which are classified as being in Area C - ready for their seizure by Israeli authorities.

"Communication is ongoing with the landowners affected by the wall's construction, and with a team of lawyers, and we are racing against time to adopt the necessary legal measures in the short time designated by the occupation for us to raise objections," Fuqaha said.

"We will try with all means at our disposal to prevent the construction of the wall because it will bring disaster and will make Sinjil just a big prison."

Palestinian activist Awad Abu Samra told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that constructing a wall will complete the Israeli blockade of Sinjil.

"The village will be hidden behind the wall, and those who own the farmland which the wall is built on top of won't be able to reach them, and if permission is given for the construction of this wall, it will complete the Israeli settler and military blockade of the village, which will be encircled on all sides," Abu Samra said.

The wall will also lead to the encirclement of neighbouring Turmus-Aya as those passing by on the road will no longer be able to see the town, which is noted for its beautiful entrance decorated with palm trees on both sides and the modern style of its two-storey villas with tiled roofs.

This is an edited translation of an article by Samer Khawira which appeared in our Arabic edition on 02 May 2024. To read the original article click here.