The occupation government is carrying out a process of ethnic cleansing in the Palestinian territories in full view of the rest of the world. Settlement expansion is happening at a ferocious rate alongside land confiscation and daily attacks by the Israeli army and settlers against Palestinian citizens and their property.
According to the structural plans of the settlements they cover an area of ââabout 485 square kilometers, which constitutes 8.5% of the area of ââthe West (5760 km2).
The total area of ââland controlled by the Israeli military is 49,000 km2, which represents about 1% of the area of ââthe West Bank, and the size of ââareas which are isolated by the apartheid wall being built by Israel amounts to 733,695 km2, which constitutes 12.9% of the West Bank.
Qaryut is 26 km from the city of Nablus and about the same distance from the city of Ramallah, i.e. half way between the two cities. It has a population of nearly 3,000 people, working mainly in agriculture, the most important crops being peaches, grapes, figs and olives, along with vegetables and pulses. Qaryut is the village’s original name, dating from the Roman era when it was first built, and according to the book History of Palestine the name means “compound of villages”.
In 1948 the village had a population of about 920 citizens; by 1995 this number had reached 5022 citizens (1621 residents and 3442 in diaspora outside the city). The estimated area of the village is 20,000 dunams (1 dunam = 1000m2); 14,000 of which are located within area "C" according to the Oslo agreement. However the area that villagers can actually build on and expand is only 360 acres. Qaryut is one of the Palestinian villages systematically targeted by the occupation army and settlers. For years thousands of acres of land have been confiscated for the construction and expansion of settlements.
The reality of the settlement in Qaryut
The following settlements currently stand on village land: the settlement of Eli which stretches across 9 hills and was built in 1984 to the western side of the; Shvut Rachel, built in 1995; Shilo, built in 1979 in the southern region of the village; and 4 other outposts "Hioval", "Givat Ariel", "Kida" and "Aad Aad". These settlements have seized more than 14 thousand dunams which equates to 65% of the territory of the village (total area of the village is 20 thousand dunams).s
Settlements now surround the village on all sides, stifling it and killing any possibility for the natural expansion of the population – a most basic human right. The aim of this process of settlement expansion is to displace the population and make living there impossible. They also hope to join these settlements with those in the surrounding area forming an agglomeration that will reach from the Ariel settlement (second largest in the West Bank) down to the Jordan Valley
The picture of the process of ethnic cleansing and displacement and theft of land and resources carried out by the Israeli government and settlers is not complete without talking about the daily attacks that Palestinians are subjected to. Settlers attack both their land and property (uprooting and burning trees, stealing olive crops, leaking sewage onto agricultural land, etc.) and use any means possible to facilitate the land grabbing and terrorism which is a fundamental pillar of the state of Israel
Gaining control of water sources is another extremely important goal for the Israeli government and settlers. Settlers have taken control of three of the five springs in Qaryut and the remaining two are threatened with confiscation.
Qaryut people in the face of the policy of ethnic cleansing:
Since the closure of the main road to the village in 2012 the people have organized various events as part of the popular Campaign against the Wall and Settlements. Through weekly demonstrations they have succeeded in reopening and using the road more than 100 times even though the occupation army returns and recloses it each time.