Stealing Palestinian Land Dunam by Dunam - by Stephen Lendman
One dunam is 1,000 square meters, four dunams to an acre. Israel is stealing them incrementally to control all valued Palestinian land, dispossessing indigenous people illegally in the process.
B'Tselem is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. In May, it published a comprehensive report titled, "Dispossession & Exploitation: Israel's policy in the Jordan Valley & northern Dead Sea," saying:
Both areas contain "the largest land reserves in the West Bank," covering 1.6 million dunams or 28.8% of the Territory. It's home to 65,000 Palestinians in 29 communities, as well as another 15,000 in dozens of small Bedouin ones. In addition, about 9,400 Israelis live in 37 settlements, including seven outposts.
Israel intensively exploits these areas, notably their water and other resources, to a greater extent than elsewhere in the West Bank, "demonstrat(ing) its intention: de facto annexation of the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea area...."
In fact, settlers and many Israelis consider these areas part of Israel, claiming they're not Palestinian Judea and Samaria land (the West Bank and Jerusalem). Moreover, Israeli governments stress maintaining control as a strategic buffer zone between Israel and the "Eastern Front," the earlier name given a potential Iraqi/Jordanian/Syrian military coalition no longer a threat.
Nonetheless, Netanyahu, like earlier prime ministers, opposes withdrawing from Jordan Valley land, wanting Israel's security border there permanently. As a result, longstanding Israeli policy expropriated "large swarths" for military areas, nature reserves and state property.
However, the State Comptroller determined that "Israel stole thousands of dunams of privately-owned" Jordan Valley Palestinian land, in breach of Military Order No. 58, stipulating that: