HEBRON: Creeping Annexation spreading East and West from Wadi al-Ghroos

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CPTnet
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January 9, 2003
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HEBRON: Creeping Annexation spreading East and West from Wadi al-Ghroos
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<P>By Jerry Levin
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<P><P>Settler intentions are becoming clearer with respect to the latest round of
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land confiscations taking place in three currently unconnected areas
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bordering the northwestern and northern edge of Kiryat Arba. (Kiryat Arba,
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on the eastern edge of Hebron, is the oldest Israeli settlement in the West
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Bank.) The probable purpose of this &quot;creeping annexation&quot; is to prepare the
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land for construction of new sections of Israel's southern &quot;security fence.&quot;
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<P>When the sections are connected, large portions of about six hundred dunams
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of Palestinian farm land will be swallowed up. (A dunam equals one quarter
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of an acre.) Land clearing and leveling activities in those areas are being
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stopped only temporarily by 1) local Palestinian landowner appeals to
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military authorities and/or Israeli courts, and 2) on site protests by
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Palestinian and international human rights activists, including CPT.
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<P>The first of the affected areas will provide space for a short but critical
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section of the new fence to be erected on a swath of farmland that parallels
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the south side of the roadway connecting Kiryat Arba's main western entrance
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to the major north south Israelis-only bypass road. Although just fifteen
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meters wide, the fence will swallow up an already modest but fruitful plot
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of Palestinian farmland owned and tilled for generations by the same family.
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It will lie within a few feet of their house. Because of the nearness of the
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house and land to the intersection of the bypass road and the entrance to
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Kiryat Arba, settlers have tried to scare the family into leaving for years.
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Harassment has included fire bombing their house, attacks on family members,
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sexual threats, and destruction of crops.
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<P>Years ago, when settlers first established Kiryat Arba, the family lost an
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even bigger portion of their meager land hold when the settlers built the
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entrance road on their land. Despite these losses, however, the family
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intends to stay.
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<P>The second section being prepared for the fence begins at the northwest
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corner of the Kiryat Arba entrance road and will connect with the land
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encirclement currently in progress about a quarter mile away in Wadi
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al-Ghroos. (See December 19 release, &quot;Creeping Annexation Continues in Wadi
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al-Ghroos.) Palestinian farmers and landowners will lose about 400 dunams
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to this section.
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<P>Work suddenly began December 29 on a third area lying to the east of the
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Wadi al-Ghroos construction the other side of the settler-only road
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connecting Harsina settlement to the north to Kiryat Arba. A bulldozer and a
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backhoe began carving out a zigzag swath of land outside the northeastern
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entrance to Kiryat Arba. It is snaking northward up the Beqa'a Valley to an
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already completed section of the security fence running westward to the
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Harsina Kiryat Arba connector road. When finished, the fence will encircle
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about a hundred dunams of land, belonging to various members of the Jaber
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clan.
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