On February 28th, Occupation forces distributed military orders to the farmers of al-Dhahriya and Dura, both located to the southwest of Hebron, which will pave the way for the confiscation of their land.
***image2***766 dunums of land will be confiscated along the planned route for the Apartheid Wall, which will surround the Eshkolot settlement, to the west of al-Dhahriya. 3,300 dunums in total will be isolated behind the Wall. The confiscation orders, which were issued by the commander of the Occupation forces in the region, include the Wadi Fatem and Kharbit al-Kubriya areas in al-Dhahriya and the as-Subti area in Dura.
In this case, the land belongs to al-Dhahriya, Dura, and the nearby villages that are known collectively as al-Masafer. Everyone in the area is connected in some way to this land, which is used extensively by local shepherds and livestock owners. Most of the villagers from Masafer al-Dhahriya and Dura rely on their animals for their basic incomes. In the event that the land is confiscated, the villagers will be cut off from pastures and face an increased financial burden, especially with the rising prices of animal maintenance and feed.
A lawyer is working on behalf of all the affected areas to fight against the confiscations. He announced that the higher the number of objections, the more likely it is that a lesser amount of land will be confiscated. Farmers in the area possess official papers proving their ownership of the threatened lands. However, the Occupation rarely responds to legal challenges and is founded on an historical disregard for Palestinian land rights.
The farmers emphasized that the Occupation government is attempting to confiscate the land in order to annex it to the nearby Eshkolot settlement. They also stated that the robbery of what remains of the pastureland would completely eliminate their ability to raise livestock in the region. In the past years the villagers have watched their livelihoods decline as a result of a continuing policy of confiscation that began with the settlements and military bases and now continues with the Wall.