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Israel refuses to return Palestinian land, handing it to settlers

Israeli forces stand in front of Jewish settlers who are harassing Palestinians in the West Bank [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]
Israeli forces stand in front of Jewish settlers who are harassing Palestinians in the West Bank [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

The Israeli Supreme Court in occupied Jerusalem refused to issue a ruling to return Palestinian agricultural land to its original owners following the Israeli army’s confiscation of said land and declaring it as a “closed military zone”, subsequently handing it over to settlers.

According to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, the land being referred to are pieces of Palestinian land in the Jordan Valley, located in the eastern part of the West Bank. The Israeli authorities had seized this land in accordance with a military order, considering the area a “closed military zone”. The landowners have been prohibited access to the land and cannot work on it. It was later found out that the authorities handed over this land to a group of settlers who have used it for farming work.

The newspaper said that Palestinian farmers filed a petition urging the Israeli court return their land to them, but the court refused it during its most recent hearing yesterday.

Read: Report: Israel allocated just 8.5% of Jerusalem for Palestinian development

“The court tried to convince Palestinian farmers to only give them financial compensation for their land, which was rejected by the land owners. Following their rejection, the court decided to reject their petition,” said the newspaper.

The petition was filed in 2013 after it was found that the military order prevents Palestinians from accessing their land, located between the border fence and the Jordanian borders.

Haaretz reported that the occupation authorities handed over land, which amounts to about 1,236 acres, to settlers, who are using this land for agricultural purposes.

Israel has regularly targeted the Jordan Valley with confiscation, demolition, and expulsion operations as a part of its policy aiming to remove all Palestinian residents from the area and make it an area dedicated to settlers.

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