Israel to confiscate land in Jordan Valley: PA official
The Israeli authorities on Tuesday issued confiscation notices for thousands of dunums of land in the occupied West Bank's Jordan Valley region, according to a Palestinian official.
Mutaz Bisharat, a Palestinian Authority (PA) official who tracks Israeli settlement activity in the Jordan Valley, said the Israeli authorities had set their sights on some 51,000 dunums of land in the strategic region, which runs between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
An Ottoman-era unit of land measurement, one dunum of land is roughly equivalent to 1,000 square meters.
According to Bishirat, the planned land confiscations will affect the lives of several Bedouin communities that live in the area.
"The Israeli authorities have designated the land as a 'closed military area' and are preventing its Palestinian owners from entering it," he told Anadolu Agency.
Roughly 70,000 Palestinians -- along with some 9,500 Jewish settlers -- currently live in the Jordan Valley, a large, fertile strip of land that accounts for roughly one quarter of the West Bank's overall territory.
Under the terms of the 1993 Oslo agreement between Israel and the PA, the West Bank was divided into Areas A, B and C.
Area A falls under the PA's full administrative and security control; Area B falls under the PA's administrative control and Israeli security control; and Area C -- which includes the Jordan Valley -- falls under the exclusive administrative and security control of Israel.
Israel claims that the Jordan Valley is vital to its security and has consistently rejected the notion of relinquishing any part of it in any future settlement with the Palestinians.