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Human rights activist: Israel planning to seize vast Palestinian land in Jordan Valley

Israeli soldiers are seen at an outpost overlooking the Jordan Valley. (Photo by Getty Images)

A Palestinian human rights activist has warned that Israeli authorities are planning to confiscate a thousand of square meters of private Palestinian land to expand settlements in the Jordan Valley, as the Tel Aviv regime presses ahead with its land grab policies in the occupied territories.

Aref Daraghmeh made the remarks in a press statement on Monday, saying Israel is continuing to bulldoze and build roads in an area near al-Hadidiya in the West Bank city of Tubas, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

He also noted that these activities point to preparatory work for the construction of a new settlement outpost in the area, where 36 illegal settlements as well as over 20 military training camps are already distributed on Palestinian-owned land there.

Daraghmeh further said Israeli authorities are also seeking to prevent the Palestinian owners from accessing their land.  

The development came a day after Abdullah Seyam, the Palestinian Authority’s Deputy Governor of al-Quds, said Israeli authorities are plotting to confiscate more Palestinian land to expand settlements in the occupied al-Quds.

Seyam said that the Israeli projects in al-Quds were part of a systematic plan to change the demography of the holy city and to Judaize it even more.

The land grab and evictions carried out by the Israeli authorities are seen as part of efforts to forcibly displace the Palestinians and change the demographic character of the occupied territories.

Throughout the years, Israel has frequently demolished Palestinian homes, claiming that the structures have been built without permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain.

The Tel Aviv regime even orders the Palestinian owners to tear down their own homes or pay the demolition costs to the municipality.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says Israeli authorities either demolish or seize Palestinian property in the West Bank and East al-Quds, a trend which has led to the displacement of a large number of Palestinians in recent months.

According to the OCHA's recent report, Israel has demolished more than 420 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank so far this year.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Emboldened by US' all-out support, Israel has stepped up its illegal settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

In the fertile Jordan Valley, which makes up about 30 percent of area in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian residents outnumber Israeli settlers to a great extent.

Israel considers the region crucial to its ‘security’ and seeks to annex it in open defiance of international law.

Since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank, the Tel Aviv regime has sent thousands of settlers to Jordan Valley. Some of the settlements in which they live were built almost entirely on private Palestinian land.

Many homes belonging to Palestinians living in the town of Tubas and Himsa al-Fuqa areas of the Jordan Valley have been demolished by Israeli bulldozers over the past months.

The Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley regularly face evacuations due to Israeli military exercises in the region. Much of the Jordan Valley is fully controlled by the Israeli military.

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