More than 10,000 agricultural holdings can't be accessed due to land confiscation and destruction resulting from the construction of the Israeli separation barrier. Military checkpoints restrict access to another 7000; 8000 have limited access due to their proximity to "closed military zones."
Palestinian agricultural holdings are rendered inaccessible by land confiscations and settlement construction in the West Bank. (Illustrative photo: flickr/Mark Jutton)
According to research published by the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, Israeli settlements represent the biggest obstacle to accessing Palestinian agricultural lands that are ostensibly under control of the Palestinian Authority.
In 2010, no less than 7,835 Palestinian agricultural holdings could not be accessed due to land confiscation and destruction resulting from the construction of the Israeli separation barrier.
The report also revealed that access to 12,797 properties was restricted due to their proximity to Israeli settlements; 7,292 were limited by Israeli military checkpoints; and 7,971 were limited by their proximity to areas declared for military use only.
It should be noted that the report describes only Palestinian farmersâ€™ difficulties in reaching the land they cultivate and does not include problems that arise from Israeli settler aggression.
It was reported on Monday (21 November), for example, that the sewage of the Revava settlement, built on the lands of the Palestinian town of Deir Estia, near Salfit, destroyed 20 olive trees and damaged some 100 others on Palestinian lands surrounding the settlement.
Nazmi Salman, Mayor of Deir Estia, said that the sewage from the settlement threatens to damage hundreds of dunams of Palestinian agricultural land in the valley to the west of the city. Complaints lodged by Palestinian residents and the Deir Estia Municipality to the Israeli authorities have been ignored.
Salman added that the owner of the damaged land, Daud Fares, has also been a victim of settler violence and that almost 300 of his olive trees were burned by settlers.
More than 7,500 olive trees owned by Palestinians were destroyed by Israeli settlers in 2011.
Translated to English by the Alternative Information Center (AIC)