"On the Israeli side, (Walaja) terraces ceased to be used for agriculture and are remnants. Here it's still a living system." Batir villages want it kept that way.
On February 17, Haaretz headlined "Palestinians reject Israel's compromise for West Bank fence: Stop rail traffic instead of building on our land."
In response to villagers' High Court petition, Israeli officials "suggested building a fence, rather than a wall"."
They lied. They said doing so would minimize environmental damage. They stressed non-existent security concerns.
Palestinians reject them for good reason. They understand Israel's real aims. Land theft is prioritized. So is settlement construction and other Jewish development.
Doing so requires displacing Palestinians. It's been ongoing for decades. It shows no signs of stopping.
In rejecting Israel's "compromise," villagers "quoted landscape conservation experts who said that a fence would cause as much damage as a wall - both through direct damage to the terraces on which it would be built and by interrupting the contiguity of cultivated land."
They said construction will impede villagers' access to their land. Israel plans it. Concerns raised are subterfuge for its real aims.
The struggle to preserve Batir continues. Hope springs eternal. Israel plans returning 1,200 dunums of Jordan Valley land.
According to its Lands Administration (ILA), its Kibbutz Merav mistakenly got it. It's inside the Green Line.
ILA officials admitted a 30-year old error. Doing so was perhaps a one-off. What Israel steals it keeps. Rare exceptions prove the rule.
In January 2012, Israel told kibbutz officials what happened. The land's not theirs was explained. It's still being cultivated.
It's private Palestinian land. It's legal owners were excluded for decades. They still are despite ILA's ruling.
Making it was historic. It remains to be seen what follows. Anything positive perhaps bodes well for Batir. The struggle to preserve it continues.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Email address removed .
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."