Israeli settlers Friday morning stormed al-Walaja village, located to the northwest of Bethlehem city, according to a local activist.
Ibrahim Awadallah said that groups of Israeli settlers, under military protection, barged their way into the village, and toured the Rweisat Mount and a local water spring, known as al-Hadafa.
He added that the mount and the water spring are at the risk of seizure as Israeli forces posted a military order to expropriate the water spring five years ago.
Located at a horizontal distance of 5 kilometers to the west of Bethlehem, al-Walaja has a population of some 2,800 and occupies a total area of 4,328 dunams.
Under the Oslo Accords, an agreement made 25 years ago that was supposed to last just five years towards a self-governing country alongside Israel, the Palestinian Authority was given ed control over a small pocket of land occupying 113 dunams and accounting for only 2.6 percent of the village’s total area. This area is classified as Area B. In contrast, Israel maintains control over the remainder, classified as Area C.
An area of 4,209 dunams of the village, accounting for 97 percent, is completely isolated by the section of Israel’s apartheid wall. The majority of this land is agricultural land, forests and open spaces.
The village is flanked by two Israeli colonial settlements; Gilo from the east and Har Gilo from the south.
Israel uses the Jewish nationalist name “Judea and Samaria” to refer to the occupied West Bank to reinforce its bogus claims to the territory and to give them a veneer of historical and religious legitimacy.
There are almost 834,000 Israeli settlers living in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel’s nation-state law that passed last July stated that building and strengthening the settlements is a “national interest.”