Americans For Peace Now
February 25, 2009 - 1:00am

The Peace Now Settlement Watch Team latest report discloses that a number of new land seizure orders were issued during the Gaza operation, a number of these orders were related to the route of the separation fence.
In most cases they were irregular orders signed by a brigadier general, commander of the Judea and Samaria Division (as opposed to the Officer in Command of the Central Command who usually signs seizure orders), and are limited to only 60 days.
Peace Now sees these seizure of orders as an attempt to establish quick facts on the ground and to bypass High Court provisions.

1. Seizure orders number t/03/09 and t/02/09 - Refencing between the Palestinian villages of Hussan and Jaba' and some of their lands
Order No. t/03/09 was signed by Judea and Samaria Division Commander on January 8, 2009, referring to the construction of a fence along road no. 375, the length of 2 km, south of the village of Hussan.
Construction of this fence will separate the residents of Hussan from parts of their land.
An objection submitted by the residents to the Civil Administration was rejected, due to the claim that gates within in the fence will provide passage and access to the lands in question and that this fence is necessary to prevent the infiltration of people into Israel from that area.
On the same day, Judea and Samaria Division Commander also signed order no. t/02/09, seizing lands for the construction of a 400 meter fence, west of the Palestinian village of Jaba', near the Green Line.

2. Seizure order number t/29/08 - paving a security road between the settlements of Beitar Illit and Gva'ot
On January 1, 2009 the Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, signed a seizure order to pave a new road, 2.2 km long, between the settlements of Beitar Illit and Gva'ot running north to south.
The order refers to a permanent road for the use of the security forces. The intention is a to build a “patrol road”, in order to supervise the movement of people in the area and prevent infiltrations into Israel through the area south of the settlement of Beitar Illit.
Construction of this patrol road in the heart of the Palestinian territories will be a real obstacle for Palestinian residents trying to reach their lands lying west of this road (especially some 4,000 dunams belonging to the village of Nahhalin).
Peace Now has learned that this road is seemingly alike to an initial, yet shelved plan, to build a road between Gva'ot and Beitar Illit for the use of the settlers (road no. 374), thus allowing them to travel westward, as an alternative to the southern road from Gva'ot running west which is likely to be closed should the village of Jaba' be handed over to Palestinian control.

Opportunism under the cover of temporary orders?
The map of the new orders shows that these planned roads create a continuous line, along with the existing roads, blocking access westwards. There are also hints that that there is a plan to construct an additional fence also along road no. 367.
Even if there is a true need for a physical barrier and/or a patrol road to prevent infiltration into Israel, it can also be built along the Green Line instead of in the heart of the Palestinian territory, without harming the freedom of movement of the Palestinians in the area.

3. Seizure order number t/78/06 (extension and modification) - Updating the fence surrounding the village of Azzoun Atme
During the operation in Gaza, IDF forces updated a fence built in recent years around the village of Azzoun Atme. The IDF added barbed wire on the fence and erected a new inspection point. Residents of the village received in recent weeks a seizure order for the “renewal and modification of the fence” around their village. The order is missing the signature of the Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, and is also missing a date. The effect of the order, like the previous orders is only 60 days.
The village of Azzoun Atme is surrounded by the settlements of Elkana, Sha'arei Tikva and the outpost of Magen Dan in the south and east, the settlement of Oranit in the west and the separation fence in the north.
The only viable access to the village is from the north, through an IDF checkpoint at the separation fence. The southern entrance is by foot only, through an IDF checkpoint that allows only bearers of entry permits into Israel to leave the village. Since the past weeks work on the fence, entry into the village has been denied to anyone who is not a resident of Azzoun Atme, increasing the village's isolation.
According to the planned route of the separation barrier, a fence from every side should surround the village but most of the village's land and agricultural fields should remain inside the fenced area. The temporary fence built around the village allows its residents access to a more limited area.

4. Seizure order number t/76/04 (extension) - extending effect of temporary fence near Beit Surik
The original seizure order issued in 2004 allowed the construction of a temporary route of the separation fence in the area west of Beit Surik and Biddu, until the government decides on the continuation of the route in the area of Beit Iksa.
No new order for the continued construction of the separation barrier in the area has been issued. Instead this new order refers to further land seizure for the temporary route, to be in place until December 2009 (this order also arrived unsigned and without a date).
In addition, at the same area, about two months ago the security forces erected a new checkpoint on the road to Beit Iksa, preventing anyone who is not a resident of the village from entering it. Meanwhile in the last two months the entry of farmers from the village of Biddu to their land beyond the separation fence has been prevented. Until now the farmers could enter for a limited time a number of times a week in coordination with the Army but in the last two months their entry has stopped.

5. Order number t/01/09 - change in the route of the separation barrier in the area of Ma'ale Adumim
The residents of Abu Dis and Sawahrah a-Sharqiya petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court against the route of the fence in the area of Ma'ale Adumim. The residents claimed that the route confiscates huge areas of their land without any real security needs. Most of the argument centers on the question of whether the settlement of Keidar will be included within the route of the fence or not. The Court reviewed the petition and asked the State to reconsider the route.
This new order was issued in the beginning of January 2009, more than a year after the court request, and although it does reduce by 4,000 dunams the area that is supposed to be on the "Israeli" side of the fence, it still includes the settlement of Keidar in the route.


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